The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced charges and convictions against three Florida women involved in an international company operating subscription-based sexually exploitive “child modeling” Newstar websites.
The defendants identified as Tatiana “Tanya” Power, Patrice Eileen Wilowski-Mevorah, and Mary Lou Bjorkman are members of Newstar Enterprise that generated millions of dollars in profits by sexually exploiting vulnerable children in the guise of child modeling.
Since its establishment around 2005, Newstar Enterprises built, maintained, hosted, and operated sexually exploited websites known as the Newstar websites on servers in the United States and overseas.
Newstar websites have over 4.6 million sexually explicit images and videos of children
Newstar Enterprise members lured and recruited males and females under the age of 18 to use as child models for Newstar websites. Some of the recruited victims were prepubescent.
The company produced more than 4.6 million sexually explicit images and videos using their recruited child victims. Some of the images and videos showed minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct even if they weren’t nude.
“For example, images and videos sold on the Newstar Websites depicted children as young as 6 years old in sexual and provocative poses, wearing police and cheerleader costumes, thong underwear, transparent underwear, revealing swimsuits, pantyhose and miniskirts,” according to the Justice Department based on court documents.
Newstar Enterprise members recruited most of the child victims from Eastern European countries including Ukraine and Moldova where children are particularly vulnerable because of their age, family dynamics, and poverty.
Newstar websites allow the public to preview the images and videos for free. The company requires purchasing a subscription to have more access to its collection of sexually explicit content. The company has a membership list of subscribers and customers of the Newstar websites. Its customers originated from 101 countries.
Law enforcement authorities disabled the servers hosting the Newstar websites, which generated $9.4 million during the course of its operation. Newstar members processed, received, and distributed the money using fraudulently opened merchant and bank accounts in the United States. They laundered the money using a bogus jewelry company.
Two defendants pleaded guilty
According to the Justice Department, two of the Florida women defendants Patice Wilowski Mevorah and Mary Lou Bjorkman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Their sentences are pending. They are facing a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.
A federal district court judge will determine their sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Tatiana Power, the wife of the principal member of Newstar Enterprises Kenneth Power (deceased), has been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering; international promotion money laundering; concealment of money laundering. The trial against her is pending and she is facing a maximum penalty of 100 years imprisonment. ‘
The charges against her husband, conspiracy to advertise child pornography; conspiracy to distribute child pornography, has been dismissed because he is deceased.
The United States will forfeit the $9.4 million, which are alleged traceable profits from the offenses. The federal government will also forfeit real property located in Florida. The defendants have been notified about the forfeiture.
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