December 7, 2021
TRENTON, N.J. – An Ocean County, New Jersey, man today admitted possessing thousands of images and videos depicting child sexual abuse, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Andrew Ramey, 34, of Brick, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti to an information charging him with one count of possession of child pornography.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From March 13, 2020, through June 8, 2020, Ramey downloaded and shared material containing images of child sexual abuse, 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 images of child sexual abuse 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 seized mobile phones belonging to Ramey. Analysis revealed the phones contained thousands of images and videos containing images of child sexual abuse, as well as BitTorrent software.
In a prior federal prosecution in 2018, Ramey was convicted of one count of possession of child pornography in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. For a repeat offender, the possession charge in the information 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. Sentencing is scheduled for April 12, 2022.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Atlantic City, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina in Newark; 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 guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander E. Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.
Defense counsel: Lisa J. Van Hoeck Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton
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