An Indiana man was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison after being convicted of tricking dozens of teens into making sexually explicit videos of themselves. Richard Finkbiner, who is 40 years old, has been nicknamed a “sextortionist” and is said to have had over 150 victims. According to federal prosecutors, Finkbiner used an online chat program that allowed users to have anonymous, one-on-one video chats online to meet his victims. Finkbiner is said to have uploaded video of other teens either in sexually explicit situations, or outright performing sex acts in an effort to make new chat companions think they were conversing with other teens. The teens Finkbiner was chatting with would then strip or perform sex acts, which the 40-year-old recorded with his webcam. Finkbiner would then threaten to post the videos online unless the teens agreed to make more sexually explicit videos for his own personal use. Prosecutors alleged that Finkbiner targeted hundreds of teens all around the nation in at least 11 different states. His victims were sometimes said to be as young as 12 years of age. Prosecutors were able to identify just 20 or so victims from the pool of 153 they found while searching more than 22,000 video files on Finkbiner’s computer. Investigators also examined Finkbiner’s personal e-mail accounts and chat logs. Prosecutors claim that more than half of those video files depicted sexual conduct from minors. Finkbiner’s scheme is said to have gone unchecked for nearly two years before he was arrested. Finkbiner in January agreed to a plea bargain in which he was expected to plead guilty to charges of child exploitation, extortion and child pornography in exchange for a prison sentence of between 30 and 50 years, in addition to a $70,000 fine. Whether or not a minor consents to being recorded in a sexually explicit situation or not, child pornography is illegal and punishable by a substantial amount of prison time. In many cases similar to Finkbiner’s, because a computer was used and the victims were from multiple states, child pornography is also often considered a federal crime and a computer crime. Had Finkbiner only tried his scheme once, he could still have been charged with a federal crime, a sex crime and a computer crime, all of which may have carried separate prison sentences or penalties. Those penalties, depending on the case, could have been served concurrently, or back-to-back. The sheer number of Finkbiner’s victims, however, is most likely what ensured a prison sentence of several decades.
Tagged as: federal crimes, internet crimes defense, sex crimes
Los Angeles Internet crimes attorneys have had their hands full for the last decade as the Internet continues to develop new functions and thus new laws. Internet crimes in Los Angeles are often prosecuted harshly because the entertainment industry is very protective and powerful, and because there are numerous high-profile individuals who do their best to protect their name.
The term "Internet Crime" is a sort of catchall phrase that can represent so many crimes. In its most basic meaning, a Los Angeles Internet crime is any crime committed while using the Internet. Some of the most frequently seen Internet crimes in Los Angeles include phishing, credit card fraud, illegal downloading, child pornography, illegal pornography, and illegal distribution of viruses or spam. Phishing, for those who may not know, is a type of fraud where an individual or group poses as an otherwise trustworthy entity such as a bank and asks for personal information such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, social security information or account passwords.
With such information, they can then access a persons bank accounts or credit cards, or proceed to commit identity theft. Phishing scams are so common that I myself was approached twice in the last month with e-mails claiming to be from banks that I no longer have accounts with that needed to "update" my account information for security purposes. Credit card fraud is nearly interchangeable with online auction fraud. In these cases, the victim tries to purchase something online with their credit or debit card that is never delivered to them. Bank and credit card account numbers are often the information that is being sought after.
Illegal downloading is downloading information from the Internet (usually music, movies or television shows) that would generally incur a fee of some sort from websites that have basically pirated their merchandise. Child pornography is illegal in Los Angeles and the United States, as is viewing or displaying it online. Other forms of illegal pornography are somewhat vague by definition and are more often subject to local or state laws. For the illegal distribution of spam and viruses, since by nature they are often intended to corrupt or otherwise bring harm to the computer they enter, they have also been deemed illegal and are offenses punishable by law. Los Angeles Internet crimes attorneys, such as those at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, are quite knowledgeable about Internet laws in Los Angeles and how they differ from non-Internet crimes.
Punishment for Internet crimes varies widely depending on the facts of each case. Depending on the scale of the damage done, imprisonment, large monetary fines & restitution, community service, probation or parole may be handed down by a judge as punishment. As in most cases, a first-time offender will likely be given a less severe punishment while the opposite is true for repeat offenders. One important note here is that if the defendant committed a sex crime while using the Internet that involved a minor, he or she may be subjected to greater charges with correspondingly greater punishments. The complexity of Los Angeles Internet crimes requires the skilled hand of an attorney experienced in fighting Internet-related criminal charges. If you or someone you know has been charged with committing an Internet crime, call the Los Angeles Internet crimes attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP immediately to begin preparing your defense.
Tagged as: internet crimes defense
Over the last fifteen years the Internet has gone from a little known technology to a part of everyday life for most Americans. With that though has come a growing area of criminal law.
An internet crime is a criminal act that is committed while using the internet or while on the internet. These crimes are far ranging, the laws can cover anything from luring a minor across state lines for the purposes of sex to online identity theft. Obviously these crimes are quite different. Los Angeles criminal attorneys are often scrambling to deal with the new issues which arise regularly when it comes to Internet crimes.
It is important to remember that Internet crimes can either be crimes in the state of California or Federal crimes. Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys also wrestle with that issue on Internet crimes, as states will have different laws, penalties and jurisdictions, making a criminal defense contingent upon who is prosecuting the crime.
Here are a few examples of how varied Internet crimes can be for Los Angeles criminal attorneys to defend:
- Auction fraud is the most commonly reported crime online, according to the federal Internet Crime Complaint Center, also known as the IC3. And in Los Angeles, an eBay auctioneer was selling fake memorabilia for months.
- Law enforcement officials cracked an international ring that tapped customer databases and trafficked in tens of millions of credit card numbers; a researcher uncovered a major flaw that permits hackers to steer some Web surfers to fake versions of popular Websites filled with malicious software; and computer assaults, which some researchers said they had traced back to Russia's state-run telecommunications firms, crippled websites belonging to the country of Georgia.
- Money lost in Internet crimes hit a new high last year, topping about $240 million, according to a government report showing increases in scams involving pets, check-cashing schemes and online dating.
Tagged as: internet crimes defense
An Internet crime is crime committed on the Internet, using the Internet and by means of the Internet.
Computer crime is a general term that embraces such crimes as phishing, credit card frauds, bank robbery, illegal downloading, industrial espionage, child pornography, kidnapping children contacted via chat rooms, harassment, scams, cyberterrorism, creation and/or distribution of viruses, spam, identity theft and so on. The federal government passed a law recently which strengthens the ability of federal prosecutors who fight Internet crime by removing some of the
Tagged as: high profile defense, internet crimes defense
Child pornography is illegal, and there is very little leniency in the law. With the ease with which individuals are able to obtain child pornography via the Internet, state, local and federal law enforcement officials have increasingly been looking to crack down on potential violators. The Supreme Court of the United States has again and again reaffirmed laws prohibiting creating and disseminating child pornography.
However, there are various sides to this issue and the prosecution of these laws can often net unintended victims. For example, those in the many artistic communities across the nation see what they are creating as quite different from child pornography. However, these individuals have often been arrested, charged and convicted under laws prohibiting child pornography. Also, people often considered religious zealots have attempted to use child pornography laws to interfere with the adult film business, which has time and again been considered legal.
The laws governing child pornography often change though; in 2002 the Supreme Court struck down a 1996 law because it interfered with legitimate educational and scientific studies. However, the most recent developments have led to tougher laws and stiffer penalties for child pornography. This has also led to sex offense databases across the nation containing the information of anyone who has violated child pornography laws. Being put on this list is a permanent punishment.
One of the ways the law enforcement or government agency prosecuting child pornography laws can error is in how they collect information. For example, while Internet providers have agreed to block child pornography, and they often give their information to the agencies investigating child pornography crimes, there are still constitutional guidelines the agencies must follow in collecting evidence.
For more information on the defense of child pornography charges, please contact the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP.
Tagged as: california criminal laws, child pornography pc 311_11, internet crimes defense, sex crime accusations
Every so often a new medium for communication comes along and brings with it a new field for the law. The Internet is nothing new in terms of historic advancements in the technology, however it is a new arena for the law. Internet crimes are many, and they include everthing from identity theft to sexual offenses.
An Internet crime is defined as any crime that involves the Internet. For example, when an individual over the age of 18 contacts someone under the age of 18 through the Internet for the purposes of a sexual encounter, that is an Internet crime. One of the challenges for the accused is that many Internet crimes can also be federal offenses and can carry with them far greater charges than the same crime committed under state jurisdiction. For sex crimes, if the offender contacts someone under age that is also in another state, then that's a double whammy as crossing state lines also makes it a federal offense.
Internet crimes include kidnapping, sexual offense, bank robbery, credit car fraud, harassment, phishing, scams, espionage and more. The level of offense can range from smaller crimes to major felonies, however due to the amount of research and investigation it usually takes to charge and convict someone of an Internet crime, most cases are on a grand scale.
Protecting children is often a major focus for Internet crime laws, as children as the most vulnerable. Using chat rooms to contact children for sexual purposes or with other unsavery motives is against the law. Having an attorney with experience and knowledge in defending the accused in Internet crimes is vital, as the law is ever changing and only someone with experience will be able to provide a solid defense.
Tagged as: high profile defense, internet crimes defense, sex crime accusations, theft, white collar crime fraud theft laws
Kestenbaum Eisner & Gorin LLP has been recognized as one of the best U.S. law firms, based on the experience, professionalism, and ethics of its criminal defense lawyers and attorneys. We aggressively defend clients in all Southern California courtrooms on state and federal charges, including DUI, DMV, misdemeanor, felony, juvenile cases, in the following communities and courthouses.