Recently in Internet Crimes Category

May 5, 2010

South Florida Man Receives 30 Year Sentence for Child Internet Porn

Cybercrimes involving child pornography have become more prevalent with the development of the internet. Child pornography is a multi-billion dollar a year industry and is one of the fasting growing crimes around the world. The State of Florida and the federal government have created a laws making it illegal to create or possess any material involving sexual conduct of a child under the age of 18. The illegal material includes photographs, motion pictures, representations or other presentations. The crimes itself is a specific intent offense which means the prosecution must prove that defendant knowingly possessed the illegal items. In state court, the possesion of child pornography is a second degree felony which is punishable up to 15 years in prison. While a mandatory prison is not directed under the state sentencing guidelines, anyone convicted of this offense is subject to being deemed a sexual offender or sexual predator by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. If you are being investigated or been arrested for possessing child pornography in South Florida, contact a Miami criminal defense firm experienced in defending sex offense cases.

While the state penalties may be limited, the federal sentencing guidelines regarding child pornography are much more stringent than the state guidelines. A Broward County man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for violating the federal child pornography laws. Scott Smith was arrested by FBI and ICE agents working together as part of the South Florida Crimes Against Children Task Force. Smith entered a guilty plea in federal court to charges alleging that he produced, distributed and possessed child pornography. The majority of the evidence against Smith was seized pursuant to a search warrant. The forensic inspection of his computer revealed numerous images and photographs involving child pornography. The arrest was part if an nationwide ICE investigation dubbed Operation Predator. The operation was created to identify, investigate and arrest individuals suspected of preying on abusing minors. Since 2003, the operation has been responsible for more than 12,000 arrests.

The federal government has stepped up its efforts to arrest anyone involved in child pornography. Obviously, the most sought after suspects are those that are involved in the production of child pornography. There has also been a worldwide movement to investigate all those who engage in the child pornography industry. According to the Department of Justice, the availability and accessibility of child pornography has skyrocketed with the development of the internet.

Law enforcement will investigate a suspect for many months prior to making an arrest for the sexual offense. It should be noted that police will sometimes get a warrant in an effort to seize computers containing child pornography. Without a warrant, the only way police can obtain a computer is by obtaining the consent of its owner. If anyone is ever contacted regarding a child pornography investigation, it is imperative to contact a criminal defense lawyer to discuss the matter. Always remember, if the police show up at your step, do not give them consent to take your computer. You are only obligated to provide it law enforcement if they have a validly executed search warrant.

South Florida Man Sentenced to 30 Years on Child Exploitation Charges, EthiopianReview.com, April 10, 2010.

February 4, 2010

Miami-Dade Man Sentenced to Prison for Internet Fraud

A man who used to reside in Sunny Isles appeared in federal court with his Miami criminal defense lawyer for his sentencing hearing before a United States District Judge. Nilton Rossoni received a 5 ½ year prison sentence and was ordered to repay approximately $717,000 in restitution. Late last year, Rossoni entered a guilty plea to charges including mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit both crimes. Rossoni's son was indicted along with his father, but federal investigators have been unable to locate him. Both defendants are originally from Brazil, but both are legal residents of the United States. After Rossoni completes his sentence he will also suffer immigration consequences as a result of his plea. Upon the expiration of his green card, he will be deported back to his country of origin.

Rossoni admitted running an internet scheme to defraud using the popular web portal and on-line auction, eBay. Rossoni purported to sell items including airline tickets, DVD collections and grills to online buyers. The indictment alleges that he took the payments, but failed to deliver any of the articles promised to the winning bidders. Overall, Rossini fraudulently took over $700,000 through more than 5,500 fraudulent internet transactions. Rossino created e-mail accounts on AOL, Yahoo and other internet providers by using fake names and stolen identities. He then set up hundreds of eBay accounts using the fraudulent names and online accounts. He would then use pre-paid credit cards to purchase inexpensive items and provided feedback on the site to make him appear as a legitimate buyer and sellers of products.

After running items for sale including computer hard drives, sporting goods, luggage and appliances, he would instruct the winning bidder to send payment by check or money order made payable to fictitious names to 59 different private mail boxes throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County. Once Rossoni received the checks or money order he would deposit the funds into bank accounts at Bank of America and other South Florida banks under the same fraudulent names. Court papers indicated the internet fraud began in 2003 and operated until 2008 when Rossoni was arrested by the United States Postal Inspection Service.

The number of crimes involving fraud and identity theft have grown exponentially since the inception of the internet. Defendants can be charged with computer fraud when materially misrepresented information is transmitted over the internet with intent to commit a crime. When individuals commit internet fraud, usually some form of identity theft occurs. The federal government created the Internet Crime Complaint Center to receive internet fraud complaints and refer them to the appropriate investigative agency. If you or someone you know is contacted by investigators or has been arrested for allegedly committing internet fraud crime, contact a defense lawyer experienced in defending internet fraud cases in federal court.

It's Jail for eBay's Maestro of Fraud, The Miami Herald, February 4, 2010.