November 16, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–An Ocean County, New Jersey, man has been arrested on charges that he distributed and possessed images and videos depicting child sexual abuse, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.
Andrew Ramey, 34, of Brick, New Jersey, is charged by criminal complaint with one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. He was arrested Nov. 13, 2020, by special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, appeared by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois H. Goodman and was detained without bail.
According to documents filed in this case:
From March 13, 2020, through June 8, 2020, Ramey distributed material containing images of child sexual abuse and child pornography, via the BitTorrent Network, a publicly available online peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing network of linked computers. Users must download P2P software, which is widely available for free on the Internet. The software allows the user to place files into a designated “shared” folder on his or her hard drive, from which other BitTorrent users can then download those files directly to the “shared” folders of their own computers. Users can then search, select, and directly download, those files.
Law enforcement used investigative software to access the BitTorrent Network and downloaded video files containing child pornography from a device or devices assigned to an IP address at Ramey’s residence. On Nov. 13, 2020, law enforcement searched Ramey’s residence and found multiple images and videos containing images of child sexual abuse, as well as BitTorrent software, on a mobile phone belonging to Ramey.
In a prior federal prosecution in New Jersey in 2018, Ramey was convicted of one count of possession of child pornography. The distribution charge is punishable by a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a statutory maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, along with a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greater. The possession charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, along with a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss, whichever is greater.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations Atlantic City, under the direction of Newark Special-Agent-in-Charge Jason J. Molina; detectives of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer; the Brick Police Department, under the direction of Chief James Riccio; and the Mount Laurel Police Department, under the direction of Chief Stephen Riedener, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander E. Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Lisa J. Van Hoeck Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton
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