Indiana Man Charged with Interstate Sextortion of Children
With Number of Victims Still Unclear, U.S. Attorney Hogsett Calls on Those with Information to Contact the FBI
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 09, 2012|
INDIANAPOLIS—Richard Leon Finkbiner, 39, of Brazil, Indiana, has been charged with the sexual exploitation of children by inducing and coercing at least two minors to engage in sexually explicit activity that Finkbiner allegedly captured with a webcam, conduct frequently referred to as “sextortion,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Joseph H. Hogsett announced today. This arrest is the result of the FBI and local law enforcement partners.
“As a member of the law enforcement community, and more importantly, as a parent, these are the types of cases that keep me up at night,” said U.S. Attorney Hogsett. “This defendant may not remember his alleged victims, but the true tragedy is that not one of them will ever forget.”
“Indiana’s nationally recognized child exploitation prosecution team is at the forefront of such sextortion prosecutions, and our top priority is to keep children safe from this type of horrible abuse,” said U.S. Attorney Hogsett. “Unfortunately, it appears based on the criminal complaint that there may be many other victims in this case, possibly here in Indiana and across the country.”
Although only two victims have been identified and confirmed at this early stage of the investigation, the complaint further alleges that evidence developed during the course of the execution of the federal search warrant at Finkbiner’s residence. This includes the FBI’s discovery of thousands of sexually explicit images and videos depicting hundreds of individuals, which may indicate the existence of many other victims.
“We will continue to pursue all those who victimize children,” said FBI Indianapolis Division Special Agent in Charge Robert Holley. “Through investigations with our local, state, federal, and international partners, we will bring them to justice.”
Until initial forensic examinations are complete, it is impossible to estimate the possible number of Indiana victims that may have been affected. The investigation in this case is developing rapidly and still ongoing. As such, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana is urging those who may have been victimized or who may have information about possible victims to contact the Indianapolis Cybersquad Division of the FBI at (877) 542-8979.
“I urge anyone with information about this case to contact the federal authorities as we move forward with this investigation,” said U.S. Attorney Hogsett. “I pledge that this office will not rest in our efforts to work with investigators to identify any and all other potential victims resulting from these alleged actions.”
The complaint alleges that on multiple occasions between November 2011 and February 2012, Finkbiner made online contact with two male minors (both 14 years old) using video chat websites. The victims described in the complaint were residents of Michigan and Maryland. In both instances, Finkbiner allegedly sent the victims sexually explicit video clips that he had allegedly captured online showing the victims.
Finkbiner then is alleged to have told both minors that if they did not follow specific instructions, those video clips would be released on the Internet and/or would be forwarded to the minor’s friends. The complaint alleges that as part of this “sextortion” scheme, Finkbiner then coerced the minor males into recording sexually explicit videos for him.
In the case of the Michigan victim, Finkbiner is alleged to have coerced the minor into producing such child pornography for two consecutive evenings after his initial contact in late February 2012, with demands that such behavior continue, at which point the victim’s family became aware and notified law enforcement. The complaint alleges a similar scheme was attempted with the Maryland victim in November 2011, but the victim contacted authorities prior to producing sexually explicit materials for Finkbiner.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorneys A. Brant Cook and Zachary A. Myers, who are prosecuting the case for the government, Finkbiner faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on current charges. A detention hearing will be scheduled before a federal judge in Indianapolis.
This arrest follows an extensive collaborative investigation by the FBI and the Oakland County, Michigan Sheriff’s Department, with significant assistance from the Indiana State Police; the Clay County, Indiana Sheriff’s Department; the Terre Haute, Indiana Police Department; and the Kokomo, Indiana Police Department.
This case was brought as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more on Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
A criminal complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.