Crime

A case of sextortion involving a teen and a man who said he was one

Richard Fye
Richard Fye

A 14-year-old boy named Marco asked a 15-year-old girl named EB to send nude photos. He was from Florida. She was from Michigan. They had connected on Meet Me and were now Snapchatting,

Teen flirting gone too far online?

More than that. This was a case of sex blackmail, police say.

Once EB sent two photos, Marco showed her a screen shot of her Facebook contacts and said if she didn’t send nude videos, he would blast the nude photos to friends and family. EB sent two videos of herself, titled “Touching” and “Playing.”

The next day, she told her school counselor.

“Marco” turned out to be 24-year-old Richard Fye of Port St. Lucie. Fye had EB’s two videos on his laptop and cellphone, other videos from other underage girls he had blackmailed, conned or convinced into making for him, according to court documents. Also on Fye’s laptop, according to his signed admission: “over 200 suspected child pornography videos, many over five minutes long, including images of prepubescent minors under years of age, sado-masochism, and bondage.”

Fye pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to using interstate commerce to persuade, induce, entice or coerce a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity; production of child pornography; receiving child pornography; and possession of child pornography. According to a TCPalm.com report on Fye’s arrest, he doesn’t have a prior criminal history. He will be sentenced June 8.

An investigation that led law enforcement on a trek through Snapchat accounts connected to “Marco” found similar conversations with other girls. A Homeland Security investigator estimates Fye contacted 17 girls between the ages of 12 and 16 in this manner.

Fye’s signed admission includes the transcript of a November extortion of “ddXXXXX,” who refused Fye’s request with bluff-calling bravado until breaking down with “I’m just gonna jump off the ruff into a pile of knife’s.”

Also in November, Fye sent this in a three-way chat with “emily” and “kayla” after demanding “kayla” go into the bathroom to make a nude video for him: “I’ll delete the profile...and the messages...if you do it...but you better hurry...before anyone sees it.” After kayla sends “STOPPPPPP,” Fye sends, “Cause then I can’t delete anything. Youre the only one who can make it stop.”

The Snapchat account eventually tracked back to Fye, who lived and worked at a sober living home. And that’s when investigators found the child porn videos Fye also would send to the girls to demonstrate what he wanted from them in their videos.

A video he received on Aug. 15, 2016, is described in his court file as showing, “a young red headed girl, who looked to be between the ages of 14 and 16, sitting in front of the phone she is manipulating to videotape herself masturbating. In one of the videos, she starts crying, as if she is reluctant...”

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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