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PRESS RELEASE: Bronx Man, Kelvin Acosta, Arrested For Sexual Exploitation, Enticement, Extortion, And Child Pornography Crimes

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Bronx Man Arrested For Sexual Exploitation, Enticement, Extortion, And Child Pornography Crimes

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Diego Rodriquez, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the arrest of KELVIN ACOSTA on five counts stemming from his sexual exploitation and enticement of minors, his possession and receipt of child pornography, and his extortion of victims for money and child pornography.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Kelvin Acosta is charged with preying on children in the way parents fear most. He allegedly messaged teenage girls on Facebook, tricked them into providing their email addresses, hacked their email accounts, found sensitive images and videos of them, and then threatened to send these videos and images to their friends and family – unless they created child pornography for him. Together with our partners at the FBI, we are committed to protecting children from those who seek to entice, exploit, or extort them.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriquez said: “As alleged, Kelvin Acosta enticed and extorted minors for compromising photos and video chats. We can’t charge Mr. Acosta for taking advantage of the trust of impressionable young girls, but we can charge him with enticement, extortion and being in possession of child pornography. The FBI will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who exploit our children.”

According to the Complaint[1]:

In 2015, ACOSTA communicated through Facebook and other means with minors in order to induce them to produce and provide child pornography for his benefit. ACOSTA manipulated his victims into providing information about their online accounts that enabled him to take over those accounts and extort his victims.

For example, ACOSTA victimized a 13-year-old girl by contacting her over Facebook and telling the victim that he could get her a job at Barnes & Noble if she provided him with her email address and phone number. ACOSTA then told her that he needed a code that was sent to her phone via text message. The victim did not know that ACOSTA had accessed her email account and used the “forgot password” function, prompting the email provider to send a text message to the phone number on file to reset the password. Once ACOSTA received the code from this victim, he told her that he had hacked her account; he said he is a hacker who does this all the time. He told her that he would send her friends and family the nude photographs in her email account unless she sent him additional child pornography. Faced with this threat of humiliation, she complied. ACOSTA directed the victim to video chat him, to undress, and to engage in sexually explicit conduct. ACOSTA told the victim he was taking pictures of her during this incident. This victim estimated that she had several video chats with ACOSTA during which she was naked or engaging in sexual acts.

ACOSTA engaged in similar conduct with respect to a second victim, a 17-year-old girl. After hacking her email account, ACOSTA told this victim that he had two videos of her having sex, and that he was going to send these videos to her family and friends if she did not do what he said. ACOSTA directed the victim to video chat him and engage in sexually explicit conduct. In the face of ACOSTA’s threats, the second victim complied with his demands, including that she pay him $600.

* * *

ACOSTA, 26, of the Bronx, New York, was arrested on March 29, 2016. ACOSTA is charged with one count of enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison; one count of sexual exploitation of a child, which carries a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison; one count of receipt of child pornography, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison; one count of possession of child pornography, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of extortion, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Any individuals who believe they have information concerning KELVIN ACOSTA that may be relevant to the investigation should contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 1-212-384-1000 or https://tips.fbi.gov/.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI and the New York City Police Department in this investigation, and thanked the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for its valuable cooperation. He added that the investigation is continuing.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Michael D. Neff is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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