Jacksonville Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges Involving Extortion and Child Pornography
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 15, 2012|
JACKSONVILLE, FL—Joshua Jay Williamson (24, Jacksonville) pled guilty today to two counts of making extortionate communications over the Internet and one count of possessing child pornography. For each of the extortion counts, Williamson faces up to two years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine for the child pornography charge. The sentencing date for Williamson has not yet been scheduled.
According to court documents, from February 2011 through June 7, 2011, Williamson repeatedly used a computer and interactive computer services to transmit threatening communications to several female individuals over the Internet from Jacksonville. He transmitted these threatening communications with the intent to extort sexually explicit photographic images from these female victims. Williamson compromised the e-mail and social networking accounts of the female victims in an effort to gather personal information about them, including sexually suggestive and provocative photographs of them. He sent electronic communications to the victims and demanded that they send him nude and sexually explicit photos. Williamson would tell the victim that if she did not comply with his demand, he would send sexually suggestive and provocative pictures to her friends on her e-mail contact lists.
Williamson hacked into the e-mail accounts and social networking sites of dozens of adult females. In doing so, he was able to access and obtain photographs of some of the victims. On May 19, 2011, Williamson sent extortionate e-mails to approximately 75 other female individuals requesting that the victims send him “full nude photos” or risk having pictures sent to the victim’s e-mail and Facebook contacts. Williamson used several Internet protocol (IP) addresses to access the Internet and send out the extortionate e-mails. He used an anonymizer program in an unsuccessful effort to conceal his identity. On June 7, 2011, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Williamson’s residence. During an interview, Williamson stated, among other things, that he made the threats to victims because he wanted to get more nude pictures of females. He stated that he did this for the thrill of it, and because he liked some of the women and wanted to see them naked.
A forensic analysis of Williamson’s computer revealed folders titled in the names of nearly 150 different women. Many of the folders contained photographs of the women, as well as their personal information, including addresses, Social Security numbers, passwords, and income tax returns. Approximately 23 images and 31 videos of child pornography were also found on his computer.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys D. Rodney Brown and Diidri W. Robinson.
It is another case 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, 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.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “Resources.”