BOSTON, Massachusetts, May 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― An 11-year-old drag performer known as Desmond-is-Amazing is now a model for a shoe company.
The Converse footwear company, once known for its fashionable high top basketball shoes, has announced a new “partnership” with Desmond Napoles and five other “individuals connected with the LGBTQ+ community” to market its new “Pride collection.”
Public outcry has led to multiple complaints to several state social welfare departments against Desmond’s parents, Wendy and Andrew Napoles. However, Wendy Napoles recently stated on social media that she and her husband have been cleared of any neglect or wrongdoing and posted letters on Instagram from welfare agencies attesting to this. She has also stated that she and her husband do not profit from Desmond’s performances.
Desmond, who has autism, has stated that he is a homosexual.
Meet the 10-year-old ‘drag kid’ taking over social media with inspiring message
June 18, 2018
Desmond Napoles is a smart, self-assured and talented 10-year-old on the rise as a social media star and self-proclaimed “drag kid.” Known as “Desmond Is Amazing” online, the Brooklyn fifth-grader has already been profiled in Vogue and hopes to continue promoting acceptance. NBC’s Kate Snow reports.
The son of the late Labour peer Lord Janner has called on Tom Watson to step down as deputy leader of the party, accusing him of “whipping up a moral panic” over the false allegations of sexual abuse made against his father.
Daniel Janner QC claimed Labour’s deputy leader was “primarily responsible” for creating a furore around the “extremely hurtful” accusations.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
South Korean National and Hundreds of Others Charged Worldwide in the Takedown of the Largest Darknet Child Pornography Website, Which was Funded by Bitcoin
Dozens of Minor Victims Who Were Being Actively Abused by the Users of the Site Rescued
WASHINGTON – Jong Woo Son, 23, a South Korean national, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for his operation of Welcome To Video, the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content. The nine-count indictment was unsealed today along with a parallel civil forfeiture action. Son has also been charged and convicted in South Korea and is currently in custody serving his sentence in South Korea. An additional 337 site users residing in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington State and Washington, D.C. as well as the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil and Australia have been arrested and charged.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu for the District of Columbia, Chief Don Fort of IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), made the announcement.
“Darknet sites that profit from the sexual exploitation of children are among the most vile and reprehensible forms of criminal behavior,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This Administration will not allow child predators to use lawless online spaces as a shield. Today’s takedown demonstrates that the Department of Justice remains firmly committed to working closely with our partners in South Korea and around the world to rescue child victims and bring to justice the perpetrators of these abhorrent crimes.”
“Children around the world are safer because of the actions taken by U.S. and foreign law enforcement to prosecute this case and recover funds for victims,” said U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu. “We will continue to pursue such criminals on and off the darknet in the United States and abroad, to ensure they receive the punishment their terrible crimes deserve.”
Through the sophisticated tracing of bitcoin transactions, IRS-CI special agents were able to determine the location of the Darknet server, identify the administrator of the website and ultimately track down the website server’s physical location in South Korea,” said IRS-CI Chief Don Fort. “This largescale criminal enterprise that endangered the safety of children around the world is no more. Regardless of the illicit scheme, and whether the proceeds are virtual or tangible, we will continue to work with our federal and international partners to track down these disgusting organizations and bring them to justice.”
“Children are our most vulnerable population, and crimes such as these are unthinkable,” said HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs. “Sadly, advances in technology have enabled child predators to hide behind the dark web and cryptocurrency to further their criminal activity. However, today’s indictment sends a strong message to criminals that no matter how sophisticated the technology or how widespread the network, child exploitation will not be tolerated in the United States. Our entire justice system will stop at nothing to prevent these heinous crimes, safeguard our children, and bring justice to all.”
According to the indictment, on March 5, 2018, agents from the IRS-CI, HSI, National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom, and Korean National Police in South Korea arrested Son and seized the server that he used to operate a Darknet market that exclusively advertised child sexual exploitation videos available for download by members of the site. The operation resulted in the seizure of approximately eight terabytes of child sexual exploitation videos, which is one of the largest seizures of its kind. The images, which are currently being analyzed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), contained over 250,000 unique videos, and 45 percent of the videos currently analyzed contain new images that have not been previously known to exist.
Welcome To Video offered these videos for sale using the cryptocurrency bitcoin. Typically, sites of this kind give users a forum to trade in these depictions. This Darknet website is among the first of its kind to monetize child exploitation videos using bitcoin. In fact, the site itself boasted over one million downloads of child exploitation videos by users. Each user received a unique bitcoin address when the user created an account on the website. An analysis of the server revealed that the website had more than one million bitcoin addresses, signifying that the website had capacity for at least one million users.
The agencies have shared data from the seized server with law enforcement around the world to assist in identifying and prosecuting customers of the site. This has resulted in leads sent to 38 countries and yielded arrests of 337 subjects around the world. The operation has resulted in searches of residences and businesses of approximately 92 individuals in the United States. Notably, the operation is responsible for the rescue of at least 23 minor victims residing in the United States, Spain and the United Kingdom, who were being actively abused by the users of the site.
In the Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area, the operation has led to the execution of five search warrants and eight arrests of individuals who both conspired with the administrator of the site and were themselves, users of the website. Two users of the Darknet market committed suicide subsequent to the execution of search warrants.
Amongst the sites users charged are:
Charles Wunderlich, 34, of Hot Springs, California, was charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;
Brian James LaPrath, 34, of San Diego, California, was arrested in the District of Columbia, for international money laundering; and was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release;
Ernest Wagner, 70, of Federal Way, Washington, was arrested and charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;
Vincent Galarzo, 28, of Glendale, New York, was arrested and charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;
Michael Ezeagbor, 22, of Pflugerville, Texas, was arrested and charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography;
Nicholas Stengel, 45, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography and money laundering and was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release;
Eryk Mark Chamberlin, 25, of Worcester, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and is pending sentencing;
Jairo Flores, 30, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts to receipt and possession of child pornography and was sentenced to serve five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release;
Billy Penaloza, 29, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts to possession and receipt of child pornography. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 22, 2019;
Michael Armstrong, 35, of Randolph, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts, to receipt and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to serve five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Restitution will be determined at a future date;
Al Ramadhanu Soedomo, 28, of Lynn, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and was sentenced in the District of Massachusetts (Boston), to serve 12 months and one day followed by five years of supervised release;
Phillip Sungmin Hong, 24, of Sharon, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in the District of Massachusetts (Boston), to receipt and possession of child pornography and is pending sentencing;
Eliseo Arteaga Jr., 28, of Mesquite, Texas, pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Texas to possession of prepubescent child pornography. He is pending sentencing;
Richard Nikolai Gratkowski, 40, of San Antonio, Texas, a former HSI special agent, was arrested in the Western District of Texas. Gratkowski pleaded guilty to the indictment charging one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of access with intent to view child pornography. Gratkowski was sentenced to serve 70 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $35,000 in restitution to seven victims and a $10,000 assessment;
Paul Casey Whipple, 35, of Hondo, Texas, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, was arrested in the Western District of Texas, on charges of sexual exploitation of children/minors, production, distribution, and possession of child pornography. Whipple remains in custody awaiting trial in San Antonio;
Michael Lawson, 36, of Midland, Georgia, was arrested in the Middle District of Georgia on charges of attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to serve 121 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release following his plea to a superseding information charging him with one count of receipt of child pornography;
Kevin Christopher Eagan, 39, of Brookhaven, Georgia, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in the Northern District of Georgia;
Casey Santioius Head, 37, of Griffin, Georgia, was indicted in the Northern District of Georgia for distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography;
Andrew C. Chu, 28, of Garwood, New Jersey, was arrested and charged with receipt of child pornography. Those charges remain pending;
Nader Hamdi Ahmed, 29 of Jersey City, New Jersey, was arrested in the District of New Jersey, for sexual exploitation or other abuse of children. Ahmed pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of distribution of child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 1, 2019;
Jeffrey Lee Harris, 32, of Pickens, South Carolina, pleaded guilty in the District of South Carolina for producing, distributing, and possessing child pornography;
Laine Ormand Clark Jr., 27, of Conway, South Carolina, was arrested and charged in U.S. District Court in South Carolina Division for sexual possession of child pornography;
Jack R. Dove III, 37, of Lakeland, Florida, was arrested in the District of Florida for knowingly receiving and possessing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct;
Michael Matthew White, 39, of Miami Beach, Florida, was arrested in the Southern District of Florida for coercion and enticement;
Nikolas Bennion Bradshaw, 24, of Bountiful, Utah, was arrested in the State of Utah, and charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, and was sentenced to time served with 91 days in jail followed by probation;
Michael Don Gibbs, 37, of Holladay, Utah, was charged in the District of Utah with receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography;
Ammar Atef H. Alahdali, 22, of Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia to receipt of child pornography and was sentenced to serve five years in prison and ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution;
Mark Lindsay Rohrer, 38, of West Hartford, Connecticut, pleaded guilty in the District of Connecticut to receipt of child pornography and was sentenced to serve 60 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release;
Eugene Edward Jung, 47, of San Francisco, California, was indicted in the Northern District of California on possession of child pornography and receipt of child pornography;
James Daosaeng, 25, of Springdale, Arkansas, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and was sentenced in the Western District of Arkansas (Fayetteville) to serve 97 months in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release;
Alex Daniel Paxton, 30, of Columbus, Ohio, was arrested and indicted in Franklin County Ohio Court of Common Pleas for pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor;
Don Edward Pannell, 32, of Harvey, Louisiana, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Louisiana for receipt of child pornography. He is pending sentencing;
Ryan Thomas Carver, 29, of Huntsville, Alabama, was arrested and charged under Alabama State Law. He was charged federally in the Northern District of Alabama with possession of child pornography. His case is pending in Huntsville, Alabama;
Andrew Buckley, 28, of the United Kingdom, pleaded guilty to 10 offences in the UK of possession and distribution of indecent images of children, possession of extreme and prohibited images and possession of a class A drug. He was sentenced to serve 40 months in prison for the distribution of indecent images and possession of class A drugs. Buckley is also subject to an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order;
Kyle Fox, 26, of the United Kingdom, pleaded guilty to 22 counts including rape, sexual assault, and sharing indecent images, and was sentenced to serve 22 years in prison; and
Mohammed Almaker, 26, of Fort Collins, Colorado, was arrested in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), charged with KSA Law involving the endangerment of children. He is awaiting judicial proceedings in furtherance of criminal charges.
A forfeiture complaint was also unsealed today. The complaint alleges that law enforcement was able to trace payments of bitcoin to the Darknet site by following the flow of funds on the blockchain. The virtual currency accounts identified in the complaint were allegedly used by 24 individuals in five countries to fund the website and promote the exploitation of children. The forfeiture complaint seeks to recover these funds and, ultimately through the restoration process, return the illicit funds to victims of the crime.The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The international investigations were led by the IRS-CI, HSI and the NCA. The Korean National Police of the Republic of Korea, the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom and the German Federal Criminal Police (the Bundeskriminalamt), provided assistance and coordinated with their parallel investigations. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs of the Criminal Division provided significant assistance.
The cases are being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zia M. Faruqui, Lindsay Suttenberg, and Youli Lee, Paralegal Specialists Brian Rickers and Diane Brashears, Legal Assistant Jessica McCormick, and Records Examiner Chad Byron of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and Trial Attorney C. Alden Pelker of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. Additional assistance has been provided by Deputy Chief Keith Becker and Trial Attorney James E. Burke IV of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, and former U.S. Attorney’s Office Paralegal Specialists Toni Anne Donato and Ty Eaton.
https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/pr/sout ... st-darknet
U.S., South Korea Bust Giant Child Porn Site by Following a Bitcoin Trail
October 16, 2019, 9:14 AM CDT
LISTEN TO ARTICLE
U.S. and Korean authorities say they broke up one of the world’s largest markets for child pornography, a crime that is proliferating at a furious pace with the rise of cryptocurrency and encrypted online content.
The bust was revealed Wednesday as the U.S. unsealed an indictment against Jong Woo Son, 23, who prosecutors say operated a Darknet market that accepted Bitcoin and distributed more than 1 million sexually explicit videos involving children. Son, a South Korean national, is serving 18 months in prison after being convicted there.
Since agents shuttered the site in March 2018, authorities have arrested 337 site users around the world. They were in countries including the U.K., Germany, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and in nearly two dozen U.S. states, according to U.S. authorities. The U.K. government said people in 38 countries were arrested.
The site, which encouraged users to upload videos, included hundreds of thousands of illicit images not previously seen by authorities. Authorities say they rescued at least 23 minor victims in the U.S., U.K. and Spain who were being actively abused by users of the site, which operated from June 2015 until March 2018.
“What we are here to discuss today, the sexual exploitation of children, is one of the worst forms of human evil imaginable,” Jessie Liu, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said Wednesday as she announced the charges. She added, “Children around the world are safer because of the actions taken by U.S. and foreign law enforcement to prosecute this case and recover funds for victims.”
Images of sexual exploitation have mushroomed since 2014, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received reports of 1.1 million incidents of child pornography. By last year, that number had risen to 18.4 million.
The Darknet refers to encrypted online content that hides from traditional search engines. The anonymity of the Darknet has fostered crimes like narcotics trafficking, money laundering and child pornography, prosecutors say. Cryptocurrency also has been cited in a wide range of crimes in which people seek to move money anonymously around the world.
Child Porn Proliferating
Incidents of possession, manufacture and distribution of child pornography.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Son’s site, called Welcome to Video, contained more than 250,000 unique videos. Of those, 45% contained new images that were previously unknown, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The site operated as a “hidden service” on the Tor network, which concealed the location of the operator and users, said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard Downing.
Child sex offenders set up online communities that “brazenly promote victimizing children and even infants, educate members about how to perpetrate abuse without getting caught, encourage members to document their abuse, and distribute those videos and pictures to groups of predators,” Downing said.
Son was indicted under seal in Washington in August 2018 on child pornography and money laundering charges. Users could join the site free with a user name and password, allowing them to download videos. They earned “points” by uploading videos and referring new users. They could buy a “VIP” account that allowed unlimited downloads for six months if they exchanged Bitcoin valued at $353 in March 2018, the indictment said.
The server for the site was run out of Son’s bedroom, according to the indictment.
U.S. authorities disclosed information about three dozen of the accused site users, including former federal agents and a Georgia man who videotaped children in his own bathroom and uploaded videos of them. The other site users who’ve been charged weren’t identified. Two users took their own lives after search warrants were executed, authorities said.
Prosecutors also filed a civil forfeiture complaint to seize 24 cryptocurrency accounts of users who conspired to launder money and possess child pornography.
Welcome to video PDF
Investigators from the Internal Revenue Service and Homeland Security Investigations worked with law enforcement around the world, including the U.K.’s National Crime Agency. The NCA said it uncovered the Welcome to Video site while investigating a man now serving a 25-year jail term, and that it identified Son as the operator.
Agents from the IRS Criminal Investigation Division also claimed credit. Don Fort, chief of the division, said they determined the location of the Darknet server in South Korea, identified Son and found the physical location of the website. They also unmasked users hiding behind Bitcoin transactions, Fort said.
“Our agency’s ability to analyze the blockchain and de-anonymize Bitcoin transactions allowed for the identification of hundreds of predators around the world,” Fort said. “The scale of this crime is eye-popping and sickening.”
— With assistance by Neil Weinberg
(Updates with prosecutor’s comments.)
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... coin-trail
This is horrific: “We found individuals access the dark web site from the networks of the U.S. Army Intelligence, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Samsung and several universities around the world.
https://twitter.com/dadavies01/status/1 ... 8744971264
Inside the shutdown of the ‘world’s largest’ child sex abuse website
Hackers found the dark web site just weeks after the U.S. government did
4:05 pm CDT • October 16, 2019
fbi bitcoin dark web 1
This morning, the Justice Department announced that it had brought charges against the administrator and hundreds of users of the “world’s largest” child sexual exploitation marketplace on the dark web.
For me, it marked the end of a story I’ve wanted to write for two years.
In November 2017, I was working for CBS as the security editor at ZDNet. A hacker group reached out to me over an encrypted chat claiming to have broken into a dark web site running a massive child sexual exploitation operation. I was stunned. I had previous interactions with the hacker group, but nothing like this.
The group claimed it broke into the dark web site, which it said was titled “Welcome to Video,” and identified four real-world IP addresses of the site, said to be different servers running this supposedly behemoth child abuse site. They also provided me with a text file containing a sample of a thousand IP addresses of individuals who they said had logged in to the site. The hackers boasted about how they siphoned off the list as users logged in, without the users’ knowledge, and had more than a hundred thousand more — but they would not share them.
If proven true, the hackers would have made a major breakthrough in not only discovering a major dark web child abuse site, but could potentially identify the owners — and the visitors to the site.
But at the time, we could not prove it.
My then editor-in-chief and I discussed how we could approach the story. A primary concern was that the dark web site was already under federal investigation, and writing about it could jeopardize that effort.
But we also faced another headache: There was no legal way we could access the site to verify it was what the hackers claimed.
“Children around the world are safer because of the actions taken by U.S. and foreign law enforcement to prosecute this case and recover funds for victims.”
Jessie K. Liu, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia
The hackers gave me a username and password for the site, which they said they had created just for me to verify their claims. But we could not access the site for any reason — even for journalistic reasons and in a controlled environment — for fear that the site may display child abuse imagery. Only federal agents working an investigation are allowed to access sites that contain illegal content. While journalists have a lot of flexibility and freedoms, this was not one of them.
After a call with several CBS lawyers, we decided that there was no legal way to write the story without verifying the site’s contents, something we legally weren’t able to do.
The story was dead, but the site wasn’t.
One thing the lawyers couldn’t tell me is if I should report the findings to the government. That was ultimately my decision to make. It’s a bizarre situation to be in. As a cybersecurity and national security reporter, the government all too often is “the nemesis,” often a target of journalistic inquisitions and investigations. But while journalists are told to report and observe and not get involved, there are exceptions. Risk to life and child exploitation are top of the list. A journalist cannot idly stand by knowing there could be a car bomb sitting outside a building, ready to detonate. Nor can one dismiss the idea of a child abuse site continuing to operate on the dark web.
I spoke with a well-known journalist to ask for ethical advice. We agreed to speak on background, from reporter to reporter. Having never faced a situation like this, my primary concern was to ensure I was on the right moral, ethical and legal side of things. Was it right to report this to the feds?
The answer was simple and expected: Yes, it was right to report the information to the authorities, so long as I protected my source. Protecting your sources is one of the cardinal rules of journalism, but my source was a hacker group — it was not the dark web site itself. After all, I was working under the assumption that the authorities would not care much for the source information anyway.
I reached out to a contact at the FBI, who passed me on to a special agent at a field office. After a brief phone call, I emailed the four IP addresses slated to be the dark web site’s real-world location, and the list of the thousand alleged users of the site.
And then silence. I heard nothing back. I followed up and asked, but the agent warned that if the site became — or was already — subject to investigation, there was little, if anything, they could say.
I recall the hackers were frustrated. After I told them I wouldn’t be writing the story, we are no longer communicating.
Weeks went by. I felt just as frustrated at the lack of insight into what I had only guessed or hoped was progress by the federal agents.
I recall running the list of IP addresses that the hackers gave me through a resolver, which provided some limited insight into who might be visiting the dark web site. We found individuals access the dark web site from the networks of the U.S. Army Intelligence, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Samsung and several universities around the world. We could not identify, however, specific individuals who accessed the site. And because the dark web is anonymized, it’s likely that not even companies knew their staff were accessing this site.
How could they possibly let this go, I thought to myself, wondering whether the FBI agent had acted on the information I handed over. If there was an investigation it would take time and effort, and the wheels of government seldom move quickly. Would I ever know whether the perpetrators would ever be caught?
Today, two years later, I got my answer.
dark web site
The seized dark web marketplace, containing 250,000 child sexual exploitation videos and images. The site was shut down following a government investigation.
U.S. prosecutors said in the indictment, filed in August 2018 but unsealed Wednesday, that the dark web site — confirmed as “Welcome to Video” — had some 250,000 user-uploaded graphic images and videos of children who were being sexually abused. The government called it the “largest darknet child pornography website” in a press release.
This morning, after news of the site’s removal had been reported, I rifled through the documents posted on the Justice Department’s website and found a screenshot of the site, with the full web address in the address bar. It was a match. For the first time since the hackers told me of the dark web site, I went to the Tor browser and pasted in the address. It loaded — with the government’s “website seized” notice staring back at me.
According to the indictment, federal agents began investigating the site in September 2017, two months before the hackers breached the site. The site’s administrator, Jong Woo Son, had been running the operation from his residence in South Korea since 2015. The indictment said the main landing page to the site contained a security flaw that let investigators discover some of the IP addresses of the dark web site — simply by right-clicking the page and viewing the source of the website.
It was a major error, one that would trigger a chain of events that would ensnare the entire site and its users.
Prosecutors said in the indictment that they found several IP addresses: 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206. One of the IP addresses the hackers gave me was 220.127.116.11 — an address on the same network subnet as the dark web site.
It was long-awaited confirmation that the hackers were telling the truth. They did in fact breach the site. But whether or not the government knew about the breach remains a mystery.
The IP addresses in the recently unsealed indictment were on the same network as the IP address provided by the hackers. (Image: TechCrunch)
Some five months after I contacted the FBI, the government obtained a warrant to seize and dismantle the dark web site. It’s believed the indictment was kept under seal until today in order to arrest, charge and prosecute individuals suspected of being involved in the site.
In total, there were 337 arrests, including a former Homeland Security special agent and a Border Patrol officer.
Authorities were able to rescue 23 children who were being actively abused.
I reached out to the federal agent this morning, and was told the FBI was not involved in the investigation. The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation division, which investigates and prosecutes financial crimes, and the Homeland Security Investigations unit, which largely deals with human smuggling, child trafficking and related computer crimes, were credited with the work.
While authorities from the U.K. and South Korea contributed to the investigation, sources say the IRS received an anonymous tip that kickstarted it.
From there, the IRS used technology to trace bitcoin transactions, which the dark web site used to profit from the child exploitation videos. Users would have to pay in bitcoin to download content or upload their own child exploitation videos. The government also launched a civil forfeiture case to seize the bitcoins allegedly used by 24 individuals in five countries who are accused of funding the site.
The hacker group has not been in touch since we broke off communications. Publishing a story about the hack two years ago may have caused irreparable harm to the government’s investigation, potentially sinking it entirely. It was a frustrating time, not least being in the dark and not knowing if anyone was doing anything.
I’ve never been so glad to walk away from a story.
https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/16/dark- ... overnment/
Gab, Twitter Hit With Search Warrants in Connection With White Supremacist’s Child Porn Arrest
The 29-year-old Colorado man first wound up on the feds’ radar for his anti-Semitic “hunting guides.” Now investigators want to know if he shared child porn on the platforms.
Updated 10.17.19 9:56AM ET / Published 10.16.19 10:22PM ET
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty
Social media sites Gab and Twitter were served with search warrants last month after a Colorado white supremacist who used the handle “National Satanist” was arrested on child pornography charges.
Wesley Gilreath, a 29-year-old Colorado man, was arrested in August on suspicion of having more than 100 photos and videos of child pornography. Gilreath had previously been under an FBI investigation, but not criminally charged, after he allegedly posted “hunting guides” about how to kill Jews, Muslims, and refugees.
The new search warrants for Gilreath’s web presence show that investigators want to know if he shared child porn with other users on the social networking sites. The search warrant for Gab is more extensive, asking for information on Gilreath’s possible financial transactions, associates, messages, and login history.
The warrants also shed more light on the extremist circles Gilreath frequented online. (Currently the criminal charges do not accuse him of sharing child pornography on Gab or Twitter.)
On Gab and Twitter, Gilreath posted as “NatSat” or “National Satanist,” according to the search warrant first noted by Seamus Hughes, deputy director of George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. The “NatSat” name is a play on the Nazis’ “national socialist” title. A subsection of the modern neo-Nazi movement is also heavily invested in Satanism.
Gab, a smaller site than Twitter, has nevertheless attracted an outsized concentration of white supremacists, due to its tolerance for racism. The site has been linked with a number of crimes, including to the murder of 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue last year.
“This account was banned as soon as it was brought to our attention,” Gab told The Daily Beast. “Gab has zero tolerance for illegal conduct of any kind. We communicated and fully cooperated directly with federal law enforcement, as required by law, to identify this individual and bring them to justice. As this is an ongoing investigation we have no further comment.”
Meanwhile, an archive of one of Gilreath’s several now-deleted Twitter accounts reveals a virulently anti-Semitic web presence, where he shared content from the leader of a now-defunct white supremacist terror ring. Now-deleted tweets indicate he was highly active on the platform, trying to network with other white supremacists and argue with anti-fascist Satanists. He appears to have operated multiple similarly named Twitter accounts at different times, which suggests he was repeatedly banned and returned to the site under new pseudonyms (a common tactic for extremists on the site).
In May, Twitter users indicated they’d reported one of his now-suspended accounts for pedophilia. Indeed, Gilreath was already on federal authorities’ radar. In January, the FBI looked into him after he posted a “hunting guide” with addresses for mosques and synagogues, according to a criminal complaint. He was interviewed by the FBI that month but released.
Gilreath also tried to buy a gun in May, but was denied after failing a background check due to being ruled as “mental defective or committed to a mental institution” three years earlier, according to the criminal complaint. (“You’ve permanently ruined my ability to buy a gun in CO and other states,” he texted his father after the failed purchase, court documents show.)
But it would take an accident for authorities to arrest Gilreath. In May, Gilreath allegedly left his iPhone on a public bus. A bus driver found the device unlocked and opened to images of child pornography. When bus employees notified police, investigators were able to match the device to Gilreath, due in part to text messages referencing his interview with the FBI.
The recent search warrants for Gilreath’s Gab and Twitter activity indicate that authorities aren’t finished digging in to his internet activity.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/gab-twitt ... itter_page
Sex offender expert arrested on child abuse charges
By Pat Pratt
Posted Dec 23, 2019 at 4:07 PM
A Columbia forensic psychologist and national leader in the field of sex offender management has surrendered to St. Louis Metropolitan Police on warrants for child sex crimes in two Missouri counties.
Court filings show Kurt M. Bumby, 50, was arrested Friday by St. Louis Metropolitan Police on a Boone County warrant for two counts of statutory sodomy and a St. Louis warrant for two counts of sodomy. Bumby was booked into the St. Louis County Jail and posted a $200,000 cash-only bond — $100,000 each for the two sets of charges — to secure his release.
Defense attorney Joel Schwartz did not return calls or emails seeking comment.
Bumby for nearly two decades served as an advisor on sex offender management to governmental agencies across the nation. He is accused of molesting two children in incidents in both counties, the oldest of those charges stretching back to 1988.
In November, Bumby was paid $280,000 to present a report to the Arizona Supreme Court.
Court spokesman Aaron Nash on Monday said the court will conduct a review of the report, which was authored by Bumby and another, but many of the recommendations seem to be in line with what many experts say are current best practices.
“Most were not controversial, they were things like treatment should be specific to the individual,” Nash said. “But this is a big deal, so it’s something the Arizona Court is taking back to the National Center for State Courts, who provided the study, just to check back in and ask is there anything in here that reflects bias, is there anything that needs to be revisited.”
In the report, Bumby advocated for the elimination of polygraphs for juveniles, which Nash said has met with some controversy. In light of the recommendation, Nash said the court did agree to a judicial officer approval before the test could be administered.
“So it (a polygraph) is still an option, but a probation officer or somebody has to make the request to a judge, with the information why they think it’s appropriate for this child and this incident, and then the judge makes a decision,” Nash said.
Missouri Supreme Court spokeswoman Beth Riggert said on Friday she was unable to locate anything which showed Bumby had presented or made any recommendation to the courts in Missouri.
From 2003 until Jan. 1, during much of the time the alleged abuse was taking place, Bumby was a senior associate with the Center for Effective Public Policy, a position in which he discussed with and presented to judges, state officials and policymakers across the nation trends in the rehabilitation and recidivism of sex offenders.
As part of his duties, he has been the director of the Center for Sex Offender Management. He also served as principal assistant to the director of the Division of Youth Services in the period from about 1999 to 2003 and prior to that as a psychologist at Fulton State Hospital.
In the Boone County case, investigators with the Missouri State Highway Patrol wrote that Bumby sodomized a child who was a family friend multiple times between 2008 and 2015 at Bumby’s home in Columbia.
The case involving the St. Louis child dates 1988 to 1994, while Bumby was attending school at the University of Missouri, and again stemmed from a relationship he had with the victim’s family. He would visit the victim’s home on the weekends and began abusing them.
https://www.moberlymonitor.com/news/201 ... se-charges
Valdosta State University dean among 14 arrested in child sex sting
NEWS | Feb 10, 2020
By Asia Simone Burns, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A dean at Valdosta State University was among 14 people arrested and charged with sex crimes against children during a four-day sting operation in Georgia, according to the GBI.
Keith Walters, 44, is charged with sexual exploitation of children after local and state agencies said he tried to meet someone he believed was a minor for sex.
Walters is the dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, as well as a chemistry professor at VSU, according to the university’s website.
The university placed Walters “on immediate administrative leave pending the outcome of internal and law enforcement investigations into these very disturbing allegations,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “VSU remains committed to assisting law enforcement’s investigation in any way.”
The charges against Walters stem from an operation dubbed “Operation Broken Arrow,” according to GBI spokeswoman Lindsay Marchant. The investigation, which was based in Valdosta but involved nearly 20 agencies, took “several months of planning,” she said.
Those arrested range in age from 24 to 57. They also include a truck driver, carpenter, electrician, forklift driver and retail manager.
The accused men visited online chat rooms and internet websites, Marchant said. Online, they found people who they believed to be children and began having conversations with them.
The conversations eventually turned sexual, according to investigators.
“In some of these cases, the subject introduced obscene or lewd content, often exposing the minor to pornography or requesting the child to take nude or pornographic images for them,” Marchant said.
Investigators said those arrested traveled from all around South Georgia with the intention of meeting a child for sex.
“Every individual arrested during the operation believed they were going to a location to meet with a child and engage in prearranged sex acts,” Marchant said.
The other men arrested in connection with the investigation were: Dave Vincent Almon, 43; Billy Stephen Carter, 57; Eric Bernard Copeland; Walter Lee Curry, 33; Jamian Hogan, 34; John Henry Hursey, 45; Eugene Andega Mainah, 35; Keith Morrison, 43; Wyman Rene Phillips, 36; Wilford Sermons, 28; Josue Trejo, 31; Bronson Jamari D. Tripp, 24; and Justin Na’eem Warren, 24.
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