DETROIT – Eight men were sentenced this week in Detroit for pretending to be teenage boys in chat rooms and luring teenage girls into making sexually explicit videos, officials said.
Christian Maire, Arthur Simpatico, Jonathan Negroni Rodriguez, Michal Figura, Odell Ortega, Brett Jonathan Sinta, Caleb Young and Daniel Walton were sentenced Wednesday and Thursday, said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, of the Eastern District of Michigan.
Chat room scheme
Police said the eight men worked together from 2012 through 2017 with others inside and outside the United States to lure juvenile girls to an unmonitored video chat website.
The men recruited the girls from common social media platforms by pretending to be teenage boys interested in chatting, according to authorities.
When the girls arrived in the chatroom, they men would build trust and convince the girls to engage in sexually explicit conduct on web cameras, according to police.
Members of the group would record the activity without the girls knowing, police said.
More about victims
"These predators committed truly horrific crimes against innocent girls and they deserve decades in prison," Schneider said. "Shockingly, some of these defendants have young children themselves. Parents, please speak with your children about the dangers of chatting online so we can keep all of our children safe."
The group got videos of hundreds of minors, some as young as 10 years old, according to police.
Officials recovered more than 450,000 child exploitive and child pornography videos of the minors. Some of the victims were present for the sentencing hearing and made statements to the court.
More than two dozen victims have been identified in the United States, officials said.
The men were sentenced to prison time for their role in the international child pornography production ring.
Maire, 40, of Binghamton, New York, was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Simpatico, 47, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, was sentenced to 38 years in prison.
Rodriguez, 37, of West Hollywood, California, was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Figura, 36, of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 31.5 years in prison.
Ortega, 37, of Miami, was sentenced to 37.5 years in prison.
Sinta, 36, of Hickory, North Carolina, was sentenced to 30.5 years in prison.
Young, 38, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Walton, 34, of Saginaw, Texas, was sentenced to 30.5 years in prison.
All eight men were ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution to each of the identified victims for a total of more than $1 million.