DETROIT – Federal officials say a Michigan man used Facebook Messenger to lure teenage girls in the Philippines into sending him hundreds of images -- many of them sexually explicit.
The Local 4 Defenders are exposing the child porn case, which took place in Shaftsburg, just outside of Lansing. Neighbors in the area were adamant when they told the Defenders they don’t want to talk about what happened.
“Here we have a guy in the United States exploiting a bunch of children,” said Keith Corbett, a former federal prosecutor.
Corbett said he’s seen a lot in his days in law enforcement, but this case still troubles him.
“He basically uses Facebook to order up poses of young girls,” Corbett said.
According to the federal indictment, Jeff Lamb, 60, would use Facebook Messenger -- a free instant messaging service -- to connect to children in the Philippines.
“Their economic situation may be even more dire than most of the people here,” Corbett said.
The indictment claims Lamb “repeatedly requested ... images and videos depicting minor girls engaging in sexually explicit conduct."
Investigators said Lamb received 143 images and videos from one minor during a six-month span this year. Many of the images meet the definition of child pornography, officials said.
“He sends the money to the Philippines,” Corbett said. “He instructs the people in the Philippines as to what kind of poses he wants, what kind of age of child he’s interested in. In this case, some of them were pre-pubescent girls.”
According to the indictment, another minor sent Lamb 295 images -- many of them sexually explicit.
“Facebook notified the government, based on the information they had, that this looked to be questionable, and as a result of that, they were able to locate this gentleman,” Corbett said.
Federal agents tracked down Lamb at his Shiawassee County home and seized his electronics and thumb drive, according to authorities. Lamb admitted to using Facebook Messenger, sending money and receiving sexually explicit images and videos of minors, officials said.
But when Defenders cameras showed up to his home, he wasn’t as talkative. He saw our camera, made a quick turn and hid in his garage with the door shut and refused to come out.
“We can’t just view this as a problem in the Philippines because, one, once those images are here, you may have this guy exercising an opportunity to share those pictures and images with people in this country,” Corbett said. “We now not only have the exploitation of children in the Philippines, but we have sort of an effort to feed the need on a part of some people for this kind of material in the United States, which can lead to the generation of the same kind of activities in this country and the exploitation of young people right here in our own backyard.”
Corbett said the reality is that this type of crime could lead to the next victims being from Shaftburg or a similar town.
The indictment says Lamb estimated he received images and videos from about four minor girls, ranging in age from 13 to 17 years old, over the last two years.
His case is set to go to trial Dec. 16.