Operator Of Online Pornography Marketplace “The Ho Zone” Charged With Advertisement, Receipt, And Distribution Of Child Pornography
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the arrest of KYLE WHITE. WHITE is charged with advertisement, receipt, and distribution of child pornography. WHITE was presented this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Colin H. Lindsay of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Kyle White’s alleged conduct is abhorrent and depraved. As alleged, from behind a computer screen in the comfort of his own home, White ran a lucrative and illegal online pornography marketplace called ‘The Ho Zone,’ where he sold access to child pornography and illegally obtained adult pornography to thousands of people. White’s alleged callous disregard for his victims is striking — White profited at the expense of innocent children, whose sexual abuse and trauma White broadcasted to the world in high definition. Let these charges against White serve as a warning to anyone who seeks to capitalize on the sexual exploitation of children: this Office will work relentlessly to hold you accountable for your crimes.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said: “Kyle White’s actions – allegedly running an online marketplace selling access to child pornography – are unconscionable. Thankfully, he now faces a lengthy punishment for his crimes. The FBI remains vigilant in our efforts to protect children. Removing predators who seek to exchange and profit from sexually explicit material of minors will remain a top priority.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint:
WHITE ran an online pornography marketplace known as “The Ho Zone” on the messaging application Telegram. WHITE categorized the pornography he advertised and sold on “The Ho Zone” into dozens of groups and channels with thousands of members and subscribers, such as “Other Teen (18+) Leaks,” “THZ Black Market,” “MOST POPULAR GIRLS LISTS,” “Tiktoker Private Leaks,” “ATHLEAKS,” and more. Within each of these groups and channels, WHITE further categorized the pornography by the name of the woman or minor girl featured in the sexually explicit content. Each group and channel on “The Ho Zone” featured a variety of free content as a preview of what users could get if they were to pay WHITE for full access. Such access cost between $15 and $75 depending on the pornography purchased. Once a user paid WHITE for the content of a specific woman or minor girl available on “The Ho Zone,” the user gained permanent access to numerous sexually explicit photographs and videos of that woman or minor girl that WHITE had compiled, enhanced, and edited.
WHITE advertised and sold child pornography on “The Ho Zone,” which depicted minor victims as young as 11 years old, as well as minor victims engaging in sexually explicit conduct with their minor victim siblings.
WHITE also sold illegally obtained adult pornography on “The Ho Zone,” including pornography that had been hacked from women’s cellphones and pornography that was the product of blackmail. The victims featured in such pornography included women with large social media followings and female athletes, among others.
WHITE knew that running “The Ho Zone” was illegal but he continued to sell child pornography and illegally obtained adult pornography on the marketplace because it was lucrative. For example, WHITE claimed in a message to another Telegram user that he “made over 300k in the first year” of operating “The Ho Zone.” In a chat with another Telegram user, WHITE stated that he “[p]rob made over $10k off the girls” in the “THZ Black Market” channel. WHITE also stated that he did not want to stop selling child pornography because “[i]t’s just easier said than done givin up $1,000’s.”
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WHITE, 24, of Louisville, Kentucky, is charged with advertisement of child pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. WHITE is also charged with receipt and distribution of child pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The mandatory minimum and maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Criminal Guardian Squad.
This case is being supervised by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea L. Scism is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.
 Communications referenced herein are described in substance and in part.
Nicholas Biase, Lauren Scarff