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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Exploiting Philippine minors through Facebook lands Texan in federal prison

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 47-year-old Harlingen man has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of receiving child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Rico Giovanni Machietto pleaded guilty Oct. 5, 2021.

Today, U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera Jr. sentenced Machietto to 80 months in federal prison. Machietto was further ordered to pay $5,000 special assessment and will serve 15 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. Machietto will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.

At the time of his plea, Machietto admitted that from Dec. 1, 2017, to June 1, 2018, he used Facebook to communicate with minor girls located in the Philippines. He requested nude photos of them and sent money as compensation to their families. As a result of the investigation, law enforcement discovered Machietto possessed one video and 106 images of child pornography on his Apple computer.

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

Homeland Security Investigations – Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Task Force conducted the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ana C. Cano is prosecuting 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated May 25, 2022