Home Indianapolis Press Releases 2013 U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett Announces Sentencing of Clay County Sextortion Defendant

U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett Announces Sentencing of Clay County Sextortion Defendant
Defendant Produced More Than 22,000 Videos Over Two Years

U.S. Attorney’s Office June 26, 2013
  • Southern District of Indiana (317) 226-6333

TERRE HAUTE—On April 6, 2012, Richard L. Finkbiner, age 39, of Brazil, Indiana, was arrested by federal authorities and charged with engaging in an intentional, calculated, and cruel sexual exploitation and extortion scheme targeting minors across the country.

In serving the search warrant at Finkbiner’s Clay County home, the Federal Bureau of Investigation uncovered more than 22,000 video files that Finkbiner had created from webcam feeds, as well as approximately 47,000 images that the defendant had downloaded, many of which depicted child pornography. It is estimated that roughly half the videos that Finkbiner created himself depicted other individuals engaged in sexually explicit activity, many of whom were minors.

Today, U.S. District Judge William T. Lawrence sentenced Finkbiner to 40 years in federal prison for these crimes. In making his decision, Judge Lawrence cited not just the victimization of the identified minor victims but also the hundreds of unidentified individuals victimized as part of the defendant’s scheme. A review of Finkbiner’s e-mail communications and chat logs indicates there were at least 153 such victims, at least 20 of whom have been identified and confirmed by investigators.

“For nearly two years, this man sat in front of his home computer and orchestrated a scheme that terrorized hundreds of young people across this country,” Hogsett said. “It is our hope that today’s sentencing serves not just as a deterrent to criminals but also as a warning to Hoosier families as to the dangers that can lurk on these anonymous chat websites.”

In pleading guilty, Finkbiner admitted to using the Internet to prey upon children and teens from across the country, in locations that stretched from Avon, Indiana to Anchorage, Alaska. From 2010 until his arrest in 2012, Finkbiner used Omegle.com, as well as other anonymous video chat websites, to locate his victims. He then utilized “fake webcam” software to display pornographic videos of adults and of children to his victims, which Finkbiner claimed to be live feeds from his webcam.

While displaying these videos to his chat partners, Finkbiner would induce these victims to engage in sexually explicit or suggestive activity themselves, which he secretly recorded. Finkbiner would then confront his chat partners with the videos of their activities, threatening to publish the videos to pornographic websites or send them to the victims’ friends, family, and school teachers unless they became his “cam slaves” and engaged in additional sexually explicit activity, which Finkbiner would also record.

Court documents in this case reveal Finkbiner’s callous, despicable treatment of his minor victims. In many instances, he would force his victims to engage in humiliating acts on webcam, which included coercing them into exposing themselves, forcing them to wear embarrassing outfits, and inducing them to write one of Finkbiner’s aliases on their body with a permanent markers. In the case of at least one teenage female, the victim was so distraught after her abuse that she attempted suicide. After sending the defendant an e-mail stating that she had tried to kill herself, Finkbiner replied, “Glad I could help.”

The locations and ages of the charged child exploitation victims are as follows:

VictimAgeLocation
John Doe 1 16 Avon, Indiana
John Doe 2 14 Sissonville, West Virginia
John Doe 3 14 Dubuque, Iowa
John Doe 4 15 River Falls, Wisconsin
John Doe 5 15 Cincinnati, Ohio
John Doe 6 16 Hamlin, New York
John Doe 7 12 Grand Rapids, Michigan
John Doe 8 15 Fairview Heights, Illinois
Jane Doe 1 17 Cincinnati, Ohio
John Doe 9 15 Fort Collins, Colorado
John Doe 10 14 Rochester Hills, Michigan


Finkbiner also admitted to extorting two additional female victims: Jane Doe 2, 16 years old, of Anchorage, Alaska; and Jane Doe 3, 14 years old, of St. Peters, Minnesota. Finkbiner threatened them with the distribution of sexually suggestive and/or partially nude images.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zachary A. Myers and A. Brant Cook, who prosecuted the case for the government, Finkbiner was ordered to serve lifetime federally supervised release at the end of his prison term. He was also ordered to register as a sexual offender and was fined $70,000.

This prosecution followed an extensive collaborative investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Oakland County (Michigan) Sheriff’s Department, and the Prince George’s County (Maryland) Police Department, with significant assistance from the Indiana State Police, the Clay County Sheriff’s Department, the Terre Haute Police Department, and the Kokomo Police Department, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

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 United States 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.justice.gov/psc.