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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 20, 2016

Private Violin Teacher Charged In White Plains Federal Court With Transporting, Receiving, And Possessing Child Pornography

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Angel M. Melendez, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Office of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), announced today the voluntary surrender of NICHOLAS SZUCS for transporting, receiving, and possessing child pornography.  SZUCS, a private violin teacher, surrendered today at the White Plains federal courthouse and was presented before United States Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “The allegations in this case are particularly disturbing and sad.  A private violin teacher, who works with children, stands accused of allegedly victimizing children.  Thanks to the efforts of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations, SZUCS’s alleged illicit conduct was brought to light, and he will now have to answer to these serious charges.”

HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Angel M. Melendez stated:  “This music teacher allegedly violated his position of trust and robbed the victims of their innocence.  HSI agents will continue to police the cyber space to investigate and bring to justice those individuals who exploit the most vulnerable segment of our society- our children.”

As alleged in the criminal Complaint unsealed today in White Plains federal court[1]:

From at least 2012 to 2015, SZUCS possessed, transported, and received images and videos containing child pornography.  According to the Complaint, SZUCS used a peer to peer file sharing network to download child pornography.  Searches of an external hard drive and a laptop belonging to SZUCS revealed hundreds of images and videos of child pornography.  SZUCS also attempted to have the laptop destroyed before law enforcement could seize it.

SZUCS is charged with one count each of transporting and of receiving child pornography, each of which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of possessing child pornography, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  Each of the three counts also carries a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of Homeland Security Investigations.  He also thanked the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, including their High Tech Squad, for their assistance in the investigation.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE.  Investigators staff this hotline around the clock. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may also be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

The case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Beidel 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.

 

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[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the descriptions of the Complaint set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Press Release Number: 
16-129
Updated May 20, 2016