In federal court, a St. Paul man is charged of running an online sextortion operation that harmed at least 500 females in the United States and internationally over the course of five years.
Yue Vang, 31, was charged in U.S. District Court on Tuesday with two counts of child pornography production and one count each of child pornography possession and interstate communications with intent to extort. He was charged on felony information, which is a procedure in which a defendant agrees to forego a grand jury indictment in exchange for pleading guilty.
Vang will appear in U.S. District Court before Judge Eric C. Tostrud at a later date, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Minnesota.
According to court filings, Vang utilized web and social media platforms to contact with females from late 2015 to September 2020, including Instagram, Snapchat, Kik, and Skype.
Prosecutors claim Vang used phony female personas to persuade and pressure girls he met online to generate sexually explicit photographs and films to deliver to him. According to the charge papers, Vang knew the girls were under the age of 16 since their ages were displayed on profiles or they informed him.
Vang is also accused of threatening to send sexually explicit photographs of the girls to their family, friends, and classmates unless they generated and provided him further images and videos of themselves naked or participating in sexually explicit behaviour. According to the charge papers, he threatened to “ruin her life” if she did not comply with his demands.
Vang faces a minimum of 15 years in jail if convicted.
At least 500 underage females have been identified thus far, however law enforcement is still working to confirm the identities of many more, according to a statement released by the US attorney’s office in Minnesota on Wednesday. Anyone with information about the case or who feels they may have been a victim of Vang’s crimes is invited to go to Justice.gov/usao-mn/child-sextortion-victim-information.
The FBI’s Minneapolis field office and numerous FBI field offices investigated the case, as did the St. Paul Police Department, the Minnesota ICAC Task Force, Chandler (Ariz.) Police Department, Delhi Township (Ohio) Police Department, and the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation.
The lawsuit is part of Project Safe Childhood, a federal, state, and local campaign started in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to address child sexual exploitation and abuse.