Enlisted Sailor Stationed in Belle Chasse Pleads Guilty, Admits Producing Files Depicting the Sexual Victimization of Children, Including Through Extortion
Published 10:21 am Saturday, September 3, 2022
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that BIAGIO WILLIAM AMBROSINO, age 20, originally from Queens, NY, who was an enlisted sailor stationed in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, pleaded guilty on September 1, 2022 before United States District Judge Wendy B. Vitter after previously being charged by a federal grand jury for producing images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of children, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2251(a) (Count 1) and transmitting interstate threats for the purpose of extorting a thing of value, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 875(b) (Count 2).
According to court documents, the charges stem from AMBROSINO’S implementation of an exploitation and extortion scheme to convince individuals to send him sexually explicit content between August 2020 and January 2022. AMBROSINO utilized several different strategies depending on victims’ ages, cognitive ability, level of compliance, and his previous knowledge of them. For individuals he knew, AMBROSINO would, anonymously, either prey on their friendship or use information he already had about the individuals and their families to obtain sexually explicit depictions from them. For individuals he did not already know, AMBROSINO would utilize other measures. For example, AMBROSINO would contact some minors via social media direct message, purport to be a social media mogul, and inquire whether the minor wanted “to be Instagram famous.” He would then request a sexually suggestive or sexually explicit photograph to prove that the minor was serious about being famous or receiving a gift. Alternatively, AMBROSINO would offer items of value to minors, including a camera, a lighting system, sponsorship, or stuffed animals as enticements to take and send him sexually explicit pictures and videos or to engage in sexually explicit conduct while on a video chat with him. When victims expressed reluctance to provide him sexually explicit depictions or to continue doing so, AMBROSINO would extort them by threatening reputational harm or physical violence. Once AMBROSINO successfully obtained sexually explicit content from a victim, he continued to demand increasingly explicit, invasive, and humiliating content from his victims. Thereafter, AMBROSINO transmitted some of the sexually explicit depictions he obtained to other individuals in exchange for the identities of other, future potential victims.
In pleading guilty, AMBROSINO admitted to victimizing at least eleven people, including nine minors ranging in age from ten to seventeen years old, one of whom had a diagnosed developmental cognitive disability and a speech disability. The identified victims were residents of eight different states and the country of Australia.
AMBROSINO faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of fifteen (15) years and a maximum term of imprisonment of thirty (30) years as to Count 1, and a maximum term of imprisonment as to Count 3 of twenty (20) years. AMBROSINO also faces a mandatory minimum of five years, up to a lifetime of supervised release after his prison term, up to a $250,000 fine, and he may be required to register as a sex offender. Finally, he faces a mandatory special assessment fee of $100 per count.
Sentencing before Judge Vitter has been scheduled for December 6, 2022.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in investigating this matter, with assistance from the New York Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg is in charge of the prosecution.