March 30, 2015

Teacher Arrested by FBI on Child Pornography Charges

The FBI arrested an award-winning Bronx teacher for allegedly using apps like KIK and Instagram to post explicit photos of underage boys as young as 12. The teacher, Jon Cruz, paid the boys in gift card to take nude selfies as well as photos of their feet and faces. He was taken into custody on several charges of producing, receiving, and distributing child pornography.

Cruz caught the attention of federal prosecutors when the parents of one of the boys discovered gift receipts in the boy's email account. They found that Cruz used several IP addresses to access his KIK accounts, one of them linked to the New York City school system.

According to officials, Cruz posed as a teenage boy, using the photo of a former student and claiming that he was "a nerd who had a thing for jocks." He paid not just for nude photos but also for pictures of the boys' rooms and "thumbs up" portraits.
Cruz served on the Bronx Science Speech & Debate Team for a decade, a position for which he received a number of awards and national acclaim. He is currently being held on $1 million bail.

This case is disturbing for several reasons. While the alleged victims were clearly manipulated and exploited, transcripts uncovered by the FBI depict a man who may be mentally ill. The Cruz case highlights the fact that the system needs better psychological treatment options for offenders, not just stricter laws and more zealous prosecution.
To protect your name, your freedom and your reputation, get in touch with a qualified Florida cybercrime defense attorney at Seltzer Law, P.A. immediately at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333) for a free and confidential consultation.

March 25, 2015

Virginia State Department Official Arrested in Cyber Sting Operation

Daniel Rosen, one of the many office directors in the counterterrorism bureau of the U.S. State Department, was taken into custody after being charged with arranging to have sex from a minor. The senior official has spoken out publicly about the danger of exposing youth to corrupting adult influences, which makes his arrest for the alleged charges all the more concerning.

Rosen stumbled into an online sting operation conducted by Fairfax County's Child Exploitation Unit, which makes up to 100 arrests a year by monitoring various sites and chatrooms frequented by teens. A female officer, posing as a teenage girl, held the exchange with Rosen that led to his alleged solicitation. A spokesperson for the proactive child exploitation unit assured the press that its officers don't "make overtures" but are only there to monitor activity and catch "bad guys."

Rosen appeared in the D.C. Superior Court one day after his arrest, where he waived extradition to Virginia. He was held without bond and later transferred to the Fairfax County jail. Meanwhile, officials obtained a search warrant that allowed them to search Rosen's phone records looking for evidence.

There is no doubt that cybercrimes against minors are a serious problem and that society benefits from the services of law enforcement initiatives like Fairfax County's Child Exploitation Unit. However, we need to be careful that officers are not overstepping their bounds, entrapping merely curious Internet users or building overzealous cases.
What can you do to respond to cybercrime charges? Call Seltzer Law, P.A. at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333) to speak with an experienced Miami cybercrime defense lawyer about your options.

March 16, 2015

California Seeks to Tighten Cyberporn Laws

Sacramento legislators have proposed two new measures, Senate Bill 676 and Assembly Bill 1310, that would make it easier to prosecute people who engage in "revenge porn." The Senate bill would classify any posting of a recognizable revenge porn image as a new crime, while the Assembly bill gives law enforcement agents the authority to obtain a search warrant whenever they seize an alleged revenge porn image.

Revenge porn -- the posting of explicit images online in retaliation for a breakup -- is a real problem that has destroyed thousands of lives. It is especially serious when the victims are minors.

California is already at the forefront in recognizing and prosecuting this offense. In February, 2015, Kevin Bollaert was convicted of multiple charges of extortion and identity theft for disseminating revenge porn, and Hunter Moore agreed to plead guilty of computer hacking and identity theft for operating a revenge porn website.

These new bills, however, may be the wrong direction to take. Assembly Bill 1310 in particular raises uneasy questions about the Fourth Amendment. It is easy to image a scenario in which evidence of other crimes could be legally obtained through the search for revenge porn. In some cases, the defendant could conceivably be innocent of disseminating revenge porn but still be found guilty of crimes discovered during the search.

Cracking down on clear cases of revenge porn is the right thing to do. But broadening the scope of the law to fight these offenses could potentially backfire, leading to the erosion of our Constitutional protections and the destruction of even more innocent lives.
Do you need help responding to federal cybercrime or solicitation charges? Call an experience Miami cybercrimes attorney with Seltzer Law, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation. Call anytime at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333).

March 11, 2015

In 2 International Child Pornography Cases, German Politician Gets Slap on the Wrist, While Killer Gets 10 Years in Prison

Downloading, viewing, and creating child pornography creates scandal throughout the world. Most countries have laws against child pornography, but sentencing structures vary. Two recent cases in the international media involve a Dutch engineer and a German politician.

In Germany, former politician Sebastian Edathy recently confessed to downloading child pornography on his laptop at work and in book and CD form. Investigators found Edathy’s connection to child pornography while investigating a Canadian company accused of distribution. The German politician’s name appeared in their client records.

Edathy owes the court $5,600 for his crime. More importantly, the incident spurred change in German laws regarding child pornography. Now, no one can create child pornography for the purpose of dissemination in that country. The changes also include an extension to the statute of limitations for many sex crimes.

Meanwhile, Dutch engineer Vincent Tabak killed his neighbor, Joanna Yeates, in 2010. His sentence for the sexually motivated crime includes a 20-year prison term. Recently, a new case regarding his possession of 145 pieces of child pornography concluded. England classifies child pornography in 3 different levels, with category A as the most serious. Tabak’s collection had 6 category A pieces. The majority, however, ranked in category C – the least serious.

Tabak faces 10 years for his child pornography crimes, served concurrently with his murder sentence. His name will remain on a sexual offense registry for 10 years, and he can no longer work with children. Prosecutors aggressively pursued the charges to protect the public in the future.

When facing cybercrimes like child pornography, you may feel like you’ve reached the end of the road. The media often tells the stories of successfully prosecuted cases like these two international claims. They rarely champion those who successfully fight wrongful accusations. Cybercrime cases feature complexities that defense attorneys who constantly monitor changing laws understand. Don’t lose hope if you face an investigation into cybercrimes. Defense attorneys investigate the whole story, which often includes exonerating information.

Do you need help responding to federal cybercrime or solicitation charges? Call an experience Miami cybercrimes attorney with Seltzer Law, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation. Call anytime at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333).

March 2, 2015

Crackdowns on Internet Pornography Leave the Wrongly Accused with Worries about the Future

Viewing pornography online does not constitute criminal behavior. However, when activities break terms of service and use, violate another’s privacy, or portray minors in a sexual context, online activity can become a cybercrime.

According to 2015 studies by Covenant Eyes, pornography accounts for 1 in 5 mobile searches. 1 out of every 8 online searches include pornographic material. These statistics suggest that an astonishing number of people who use the internet face the possibility that they could one day stand accused of pornographic cybercrimes.

Recently, Google and Reddit announced changes to the pornography rules on their sites. Google reversed its original decision to ban the sharing of pornographic material on its Blogger site. Instead, it plans to work on enforcing current policies. Reddit, meanwhile, instituted changes that will go into effect on March 10th and focus on preventing the sharing of pornographic material that has not been approved by the subject. Reddit has encountered a widespread problem with “revenge porn.” Revenge porn is pornographic content created for private use, and then disseminated by one party with the intent to cause pain.

The media reports of crackdowns on internet pornography every day, and wrongful accusations are common. Let’s say that you’ve been accused of a cybercrime that includes sexually explicit behavior. You may find yourself staring into the abyss of consequences with no viable recourse.

Wrongful accusations can destroy a person’s credibility and trustworthiness overnight. You may experience feelings of isolation and despair. Occasionally, people face allegations because of accidents. You may not know the difference between legally and illegally distributed content.

To protect yourself, avoid viewing content that portrays children, animal, or violent behavior. Illegal postings may also come through non-traditional forums like Blogger and Reddit. Be careful when using non-company sites for viewing, and be aware that laws vary at the state level.

Contact a cybercrime defense attorney if you stumbled across illegal content and got in trouble for doing so. You don’t have to face an intense investigation alone, and clearing your name can help you get your life back.

What can you do to respond to cybercrime charges? Call Seltzer Law, P.A. at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333) to speak with an experienced Miami cybercrime defense lawyer about your options.

February 26, 2015

Handling Accusations in the Midst of an Increasing Cybercrime Epidemic

Cybercrime presents unique challenges to the legal system, both for alleged offenders and for law enforcement. The laws and regulations regarding certain crimes are often difficult to navigate, especially given the fast pace of web technology changes. Innocent individuals charged with cybercrimes face immediate loss of trust and reputation, making day-to-day life difficult.

No company is immune to the threat of cybercrime. The media commonly reports on large security breaches, but small companies must also implement proactive measures to prevent cybercrime. Many small and medium sized businesses do not implement the type of security measures needed to protect against everyday threats.

As the cost of cybercrime breaches continues to rise, law enforcement officials often complain that “their hands are tied,” and investigators often resort to unfair or even illegal tactics to gain an edge.

Cybercrime accusations can turn your world upside down in an instant. Securing the data for exoneration requires a deep understanding of relevant technology and laws. Facing charges often leaves individuals emotionally, financially, and physically drained.

Individuals on both sides of the cybercrime debate acknowledge that cyberattacks leave a costly and destructive wake. There may not be an easy solution. IT and other technology personnel often face unfair allegations when companies don’t know who else to accuse. Follow these guidelines if you find yourself facing erroneous cybercrime charges:

1. Back up your personal systems and secure any data that can be used to exonerate you.

2. Seek legal advice early on to understand and prepare for the future. An attorney can also help you determine whether a new regulation or law was accidentally breached during the normal course of work.

3. Talk to individuals willing to testify on your behalf. Many cybercrime cases feature circumstantial evidence, and it is helpful to secure witnesses who can defend your character profile.

4. Be careful when speaking to authorities. Only relate the facts during an investigation. Phrases may be taken out of context if your case goes to court.

What can you do to respond to cybercrime charges? Call Seltzer Law, P.A. at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333) to speak with an experienced Miami cybercrime defense lawyer about your options.

February 16, 2015

11 Arrested in 3 Cases of Online Sex Solicitation of Minors

Three separate cases involving the online solicitation of minors are currently in the court system in Amarillo, Texas, and in Louisa County, Virginia. Undercover police operations in both states were involved in discovering the offenses.

A large undercover operation in Texas yielded the arrests of nine individuals who will face 3rd degree felony charges for their alleged actions. The male suspects range in age from 20 to 44. Convicted suspects may face up to 10 years in state prison, and they will be required to register as sex offenders. The case is part of a larger crackdown targeting sex related offenses and human trafficking in Texas.

Officials are also handling two distinct cases in central Virginia as part of undercover operations targeted at sex offenders. Police discovered the illegal solicitations after posing online as a young female. Johnathan Schnyer, a 54-year-old male, was an active member of a community church. He faces one felony charge.

Ray Lester has also been charged with the solicitation of a minor. He is 28 years old, and authorities found him with a semi-automatic weapon when they arrested him. Lester was previously a county dispatcher and a volunteer fireman in his communities. He was arrested while allegedly waiting to meet a 14-year-old for sex.

All 11 individuals face charges because of suspicious online activities. Anyone arrested for sexual solicitation, particularly of a minor, may face stigma and life altering consequences. The accusation makes regaining previous quality of life difficult. Legal counsel specializing in sex related crimes can improve your chances of exoneration and potentially reverse the reputation damaging process.

These cases feature young to middle aged males who allegedly used a passive internet approach to commit crimes against young minors. Undercover police operations often use technologically advanced tools to target these offenders and catch them in illegal acts.

Do you need help responding to federal cybercrime or solicitation charges? Call an experience Miami cybercrimes attorney with Seltzer Law, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation. Call anytime at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333).

February 11, 2015

Solicitation Charges Against High School Teacher Shock Small Connecticut Town

If you or someone you love faces charges of soliciting a minor for sex or engaging in cybercrime activity, this heartbreaking case out of Connecticut may resonate with you.

A former student has filed a lawsuit against a local high school Spanish teacher for sexual harassment in the small town of Simsbury. The student wants $15,000 in damages. The teacher, Mark Cohan, who has been suspended since July 9, 2014, faces several disturbing allegations of misconduct and criminal behavior, according to the local paper, the Hartford Courant.

An ongoing investigation led to Cohan’s arrest on July 30, when authorities “charged [Cohan] with disorderly conduct and second-degree sexual harassment,” according to the Courant. The media has not named the student filing the suit, due to the nature of the allegations. Michael Reilly, an attorney representing the student, told reporters: “Mark Cohan abused his position of trust as a teacher at Simsbury High School to stalk, intimidate, exploit, [and] sexually harass [the youth].”

The lawsuit includes allegations that Cohan used a “friend” status on Facebook to send overtly sexual messages to male students. The student also accuses the teacher of sending him excessive messages, as well as texting, calling, and making him stay after school. Cohan allegedly used several inappropriate tactics with the student, including having him sleep over and drink hard liquor. The student says that, after he slept over at his teacher’s house, he awoke without a clear memory of the night before, with vomit all over him and his zipper down.

Stories like these can be devastating for victims and can spark understandable public ire. But what happens when those wrongly charged with sexual misconduct and cybercrimes find themselves having to defend against compelling (but ultimately wrong or baseless or invented) stories? Those who are inaccurately charged may face stigma and have difficulty securing employment, even if they succeed in getting exonerated.

Florida has particularly tough sex crimes laws; if convicted of similar charges, you will need to register on a national sex offender registration list, and you may face a battery of other punishments, including jail time.

If you face an investigation, or if you’ve been charged with a sex crime you didn’t commit, seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible.

Do you need help responding to federal cybercrime or solicitation charges? Call an experienced Miami cybercrimes attorney with Seltzer Law, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation. Call anytime at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333).

February 2, 2015

Child Pornography Cases Roil Pennsylvania and the Vatican

Two notable child pornography cases grabbed news headlines over the last several days. One involves a middle-aged man, David Michael Gruel, who stands accused of 8 felony counts of sexual abuse of children. The second hails all the way from Vatican City, where officials are reviewing two cases of child pornography.

In Pennsylvania, Fox 43 reports that State Troopers discovered that Gruel allegedly shared images of child pornography online. Troopers searched his home and say they seized a computer that contained images and videos depicting child pornography. Gruel now faces seven counts of child pornography along with one count of committing a crime through technology.

Meanwhile, half a world away, Vatican City’s chief prosecutor discovered two child pornography cases within the city’s walls last year. One case came to light through computer access; the second case’s details have not been released.

It’s been over a decade since the Catholic Church was publically roiled by allegations that priests had been engaging in child sex abuse on a mass scale. Those allegations – and all the bad publicity that accompanied them – helped spur reform within the Church. Pope Francis, meanwhile, is taking a zero tolerance policy regarding these latest changes. Reuters reports that Pope Francis personally approved the Vatican City arrests to send a strong message that everyone in he Catholic Church – even the highest ranking Church officials – must be accountable for their actions. Police arrested former Archbishop Wesolowski last year on charges that he paid for sex with children; he allegedly is also involved in one of these recent cases.

Is there a worldwide problem with respect to the viewing and dissemination of child pornography? Statistically speaking, most people accused of child pornography and child sex abuse are men, but pornography and solicitation defendants are surprisingly diverse.

In both cases we’ve discussed, the defendants stand accused of using the internet to access and view child pornography, reflecting the fact that the internet is the main way child pornography is distributed today.

If you have been falsely accused of viewing, storing or distributing child pornography on your computer, you understand how potentially damaging the charges may be. To protect your name, your freedom and your reputation, get in touch with a qualified Miami cybercrime defense attorney at Seltzer Law, P.A. immediately at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333) for a free and confidential consultation.

January 28, 2015

Psychologist, Lisa Damour, on Talking About Pornography with Teenagers

Teens who aren’t taught about the ramifications of viewing certain kinds of pornography can get themselves in serious trouble that even an experienced Florida sex crime defense attorney can’t easily untangle. As a parent, you can take preemptive action to avert catastrophy. The simple act of talking to your teen can prevent him or her from committing an actionable online offense.

Psychologist Lisa Damour helps parents manage the complex and often embarrassing task of discussing pornography with their teens. She points that that while pornography fulfills fantasies, the pornographic community can be exploitative and dark.

Pornography has been at the center of sexual health debates for some time now. Some therapists warn that future generations may have a difficult time reconciling sexuality and emotional connections because of the vicarious nature of pornography. However, since the onset of widespread image and video pornography, teenage pregnancy has plummeted. The number of sexual partners reported by the average teenager has also fallen. Finally, the number of virgins graduating from high school has increased. Is it a cause and effect relationship or merely a correlation?

Every parent must make important decisions to safeguard a child’s wellbeing, including informing him about sexual health, boundaries, and appropriate online behavior.

How can we, as parents, do a better job of discussing pornography with teens?

Talking openly about what content is normal and what is considered too graphic encourages positive decision making and lowers the chance of extreme content exposure. A parent can offer guidance, but should avoid imposing strict measures regarding a teen’s sexuality.

It is not wise to ignore the need for communication because of awkwardness. Admitting the fact that the discussion is awkward for both child and parent may provide common ground for the conversation. Remember that an awkward conversation today could prevent detrimental consequences in the future.

Call a Miami cybercrime defense attorney with Seltzer Law, P.A. at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333) to get effective, compassionate assistance with your challenging and scary charges. We’re available for consultations 24/7.

January 19, 2015

Prince Andrew Faces Sex Offender Allegations: Tied to Disgraced Financier, Jeffrey Epstein

Allegations of sexual abuse involving minors can torch careers, destroy reputations and lead to jail time and other horrendous punishments… even if you’re a privileged Prince.

To wit, consider that the Duke of York, Prince Andrew of England, faces a public relations nightmare (and potential legal morass) thanks to his affiliation with Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy but disgraced financier from New York. Epstein palled around with notables like President Bill Clinton and Donald Trump prior to his arrest in 2006 on sex crime charges and other offenses.

Reports suggest that Prince Andrew had frequented Epstein’s home during the last decade and potentially received massages and sexual favors from women who had frequented Epstein’s estate. A lawsuit filed in Southern District of Florida in 2008 for $15 million alleged that the financier had developed “a sexual preference and obsession for underage minor girls… [he] gained access to primarily economically disadvantaged minor girls in his home and sexually assaulted these girls.”

One girl in particular – known to the world now as ‘Jane Doe #3’ – allegedly had been sexually involved with the Duke of York on a Caribbean Island orgy. Per a court document: “Epstein instructed Jane Doe #3 that she was to give the Prince whatever he demanded and required Jane Doe #3 to report back to him on the details of the sexual abuse.” This so-called “sex slave” allegedly spent time with the Duke of York between 1999 and 2002.

In 2011, Epstein spent 13 months in prison for procuring prostitutes. After being released in 2011, Epstein spent time with Prince Andrew in New York’s Central Park. Paparazzi clipped pictures of the two of them together, leading the Daily Telegraph (one of England’s biggest newspapers) to write “What Was the Duke of York Thinking?”

Whether or not the allegations against Prince Andrews stand up to scrutiny, the story has a powerful moral: accusations (true or not or somewhere in between) of sexual misconduct with minors can ruin lives, lead to widespread disgrace and create years of persistent legal trouble.

If you or someone you know needs help defending against Florida sex crime charges, call the team here at Seltzer Law, PA, at 1-888-THE DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333) for a free consultation.

January 14, 2015

Victims Sue Lottery-Winning Florida Sex Offender, After He Wins $3 Million

Timothy Poole, a convicted Florida sex offender, made international headlines in December after he won a $3 million prize in the Florida scratch-off lottery. Now the two victims of Poole’s abuse – who were 9-years-old and 5-years-old back in 1996, when the abuse occurred – are suing the lottery winner for a share of the $2.2 million that he’ll be taking home as part of his lump-sum payment arrangement.

The Florida lottery immediately took Poole’s picture off their website when the agency discovered his criminal history (he pled guilty in 2001, served 3 years in jail, and now works at a taxi cab company), saying, “we chose not to draw additional attention to this particular winner.” Even though Poole accepted a plea deal, he has maintained his innocence in the case.

Florida has no statute of limitations barring actions victims of sexual assault and battery (under the age of 16) from suing their assailants for damages. Per Jason Recksiedler and Mark NeJame’s attorney: “we are not attempting to get [Poole] any additional prison time… he has served his time to society, but he has not served his dues for the alleged massive damage caused to these children.”

Poole had been forced to register as a sex offender, but WKMG reports that he skipped out of several sessions of his mandatory counseling program. The two young men hope to freeze Poole’s fortune before he can “squander, hide, or otherwise dispose of assets.”

The story has gained incredible amounts of attention, not just here in Florida but also across the country, because so many people hold sex offenders in low esteem. It galls their conscience to learn that someone accused of sex crimes might actually come into good fortune. This sentiment -- at the heart of the story -- illustrates that offenders need to do a tremendous amount of work just to obtain fair treatment.

Fortunately, you can get excellent counsel here at Seltzer Law, PA. Call us for adept, insightful and compassionate legal help now at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333) for a free consultation with a cybercrime defense lawyer.