Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

January 31, 2013

Indiana man to plead guilty to 'sextortion'

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana man has agreed to plead guilty to charges alleging that he tricked more than a dozen teenagers from several states into stripping or performing sexual acts for him via webcam and then used recordings of those sessions to coerce them into making even more explicit videos.

Richard Finkbiner, who lives in the western Indiana community of Brazil, signed an agreement filed in federal court in Terre Haute on Wednesday in which he will plead guilty to child exploitation, extortion and possession of child pornography in exchange for a recommended sentence of 30 to 50 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett previously said that his office intended to seek an effective life sentence if a jury convicted Finkbiner.

"From the outset, our focus in this case has been on fully investigating this alleged criminal activity so that we can provide closure - and justice - for the hundreds of potential victims affected by the defendant." Hogsett said during a news conference Thursday in Terre Haute.

According to prosecutors, Finkbiner met most or all of his victims on a video chat website, omegle.com, which offers users random, anonymous one-on-one chats with strangers. The site says it is not for use by children under 13 or older teens younger than 18 without permission of a parent or guardian.

Prosecutors say the teens thought they were looking at live images of people — including a couple, in at least one instance — who were acting sexually and encouraging the teens to do the same, but the images were actually recordings Finkbiner was showing them. He would later contact the teens again and threaten to upload the explicit images he recorded of them to porn websites unless they made more videos for his private use, prosecutors say.

"So u wanna play or b a famous gay porn star?" Finkbiner allegedly asked a Michigan boy.

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