TRENTON, NJ – A Bayonne, N.J., man was convicted for posing as a teenage boy, and at times a teenage girl, to solicit underage females online to produce images of themselves engaged in sexually explicit conduct, possessing, and distributing those images to others, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced on Friday, April 8.
Erik Vanderbeck, 49, of Bayonne was convicted of two counts of production of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography, according to Fishman. The jury deliberated about one hour following a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton Federal Court.
According to documents filed in the case and the evidence at trial:
Vanderbeck allegedly met minor females in Internet chat rooms while pretending to be a teenage boy, and at times, a teenage girl. Over the course of their correspondence, Vanderbeck would ask them to send him nude images of themselves. Once Vanderbeck received nude images, he would threaten to post the victim’s nude images online unless she sent more. In some cases, Vanderbeck would send nude images that he had received from some of his victims to other minors to induce them to self-produce child pornography.
Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Vanderbeck’s home in Bayonne in 2014. They recovered computer equipment belonging to Vanderbeck containing images appearing to be that of child pornography.
Each count of production of child pornography carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison; the distribution count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison; and the possession count carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. All of the counts also are punishable by a $250,000 fine.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 14.
Fishman credited inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge James Ball in Newark, and the Bayonne Police Department, under the direction of Chief Drew Niekrasz, with the investigation leading to the guilty verdict. Fishman also thanked the Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for its role in the investigation.