U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
(813) 274-6000
November 7, 2014

Department of Defense Contractor Sentenced to 30 Years for Production of Child Pornography

TAMPA, FL—U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven has sentenced Michael C. Vella (36, Riverview) to 30 years in federal prison for producing child pornography. He pleaded guilty on June 20, 2014.

According to the plea agreement, a 16-year-old female reported to law enforcement that Vella had been forcing her to have sex with him since the middle of 2012. She also disclosed that Vella had, on at least one occasion, used his laptop computer to record their encounter. The video was recorded in a hotel room when he transported the victim to the Orlando area. At the time the arrest warrant was issued, Vella was deployed to Afghanistan as a Department of Defense contractor.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stacie B. Harris.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the 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 locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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