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Justice News

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

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

North Tonawanda Man Sentenced To Statutory Maximum For Receipt Of Child Pornography

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE:  (716) 843-5817
FAX #:    (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.– Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Thomas A. Sparks, 23, of North Tonawanda, NY, who was convicted of receipt of child pornography, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and 15 years supervised release by Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who handled the case, stated that in June 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation received a report that Sparks and a friend were downloading child pornography from the internet. Agents interviewed Sparks at his residence, who admitted that he had downloaded child pornography from the internet onto the flash drive.  Sparks also stated that prior to FBI’s arrival, he smashed the flash drive and threw it in the garbage. Sparks did this after getting a phone call he received from a friend stating that the FBI was on the way to interview him.

The flash drive was recovered from the garbage and was repaired by the FBI in Quantico, Virgina. A forensic analysis of the flash drive revealed approximately 94 images of child pornography. During the investigation, agents also recovered an alleged contract Sparks drafted. The contract sought to have his girlfriend agree that, in the event they marry and have children, she would participate in and assist the defendant in committing acts of child exploitation. Additionally, as part of the plea agreement, Sparks admitted that he engaged in a pattern of activity involving the sexual abuse or exploitation of a minor.

The defendant’s conduct in the present case occurred approximately one month after being arrested and charged by the New York State Police with a separate child pornography investigation.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detectives of the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Police Chief David Zack, and Investigators from the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Michael Cerretto. Additional assistance was also provided by the FBI Forensic Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, and the Western New York Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory.

Updated May 14, 2015