This guilty plea resulted from an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in cooperation with the North Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the Bismarck Police Department, and the Burleigh County State's Attorney's Office.
Robert Schmaltz, 36, from Bismarck, N.D., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to receiving materials involving minors being sexually exploited.
In a plea agreement, Schmaltz admitted using the Internet to download and view images of child pornography. During court proceedings, Schmaltz agreed that he possessed 1,507 videos and more than 81,000 still images depicting the sexual exploitation of children.
This charge carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Schmaltz must also register as a sexual offender.
Sentencing for Schmaltz has been scheduled for July 15 in U.S. District Court in Bismarck.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.