PORT ST. LUCIE — A Port St. Lucie man pleaded guilty to coercing minors to engage in sexual activity and produce child pornography through “internet sextortion,” according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.
Richard Eugene Fye III, 24, pleaded guilty Thursday to using the internet to target and extort children through sexual exploitation and pornographic offenses, according to the release. The indictment against him consists of four charges: use of means of interstate commerce to persuade, induce, entice or coerce a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity; production of and receiving material containing visual depictions of sexual exploitation of minors; and possession of material containing visual depictions of sexual exploitation of minors, including those younger than 12 years old.
According to the release:
The case began in December when a 15-year-old girl in Michigan made a complaint about online coercion, saying someone who identified himself as “Marco,” a 14-year-old boy from Port St. Lucie, contacted her using a social networking application.
“Marco” convinced her to send him nude photographs using her cell phone. He then threatened to send the photographs to her friends and family if she didn’t also send nude videos of herself, so she did.
Using a summons and researching IP addresses, investigators tracked "Marco" to a house in the 1800 block of Southwest Gemini Lane in Port St. Lucie and learned it was Fye.
A federal search warrant served Jan. 31 found nude images of the 15-year-old girl, a profile for "Marco" and more than 200 suspected child pornography videos on his cell phone and laptop.
Officials also found videos and chats with other girls Fye met online. During these chats, Fye would send child pornography to minors to show them the sexual acts he wanted them to perform in videos.
Fye faces a possible life sentence in prison, as well as up to a lifetime of supervised release and the requirement to register as a sex offender. His sentencing is scheduled for June 8 in West Palm Beach.
Port St. Lucie man pleads guilty to 'internet sextortion' Laurie K. Blandford March 31, 2017