Skip to main content
Press Release

Affluent businessman turned repeat offender imprisoned for paying minor to produce child pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

McALLEN, Texas – A 62-year-old man residing in McAllen has been sentenced for coercion and enticement of a minor, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Luis Fabian Vela pleaded guilty Oct. 27, 2023.

U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez has now ordered Vela to serve 195 months in federal prison. The court enhanced the sentence after determining he was a repeat and dangerous offender against minors and because the offense involved a minor under the age of 16. In handing down the prison term, Judge Alvarez noted how Vela had community support throughout his life but turned to illegal sexual conduct when he was stressed. Calling his behavior sexually deviant, Judge Alvarez expressed concerns for the safety of the community due to these crimes occurring in the dark. Vela will serve 10 years on supervised release following completion of his prison term. During that time, he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.

“Vela is a prominent business owner who used his significant means to coerce minors into producing pornographic material of children for his own gratification, even going as far as instructing them how to take photographs of specific areas,” said Hamdani. “He boasted about his wealth to get what he wanted, but there won’t be much of that now…at least for the next 16 years.”

From Sept. 29, 2022, through Oct. 5, 2022, Vela operated a financial account listed under Birdiebistro, a business he owns, and began communicating with a 15-year-old child. Even after the minor told Vela their age, he continued to engage in those conversations which were at times sexual in nature and extremely vulgar. He then instructed the minor on how to produce child pornography and utilized the Birdiebistro account to pay for the files.

At the hearing, Vela expressed his apologies to his own family for all that has happened to him.

Vela will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Devin V. Walker prosecuted the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section leads PSC, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identifies and rescues victims. For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources link on that page.

Updated April 11, 2024

Project Safe Childhood