U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated this case.
Paul D. Edwards, 64, of Sapulpa, Okla., was charged Nov. 5, 2013 with one count of possessing and child pornography and five counts of receiving child pornography. Edwards is a former Certified Public Accountant for local municipalities and school districts who has been unemployed since 2008.
According to court documents, in October 2011, HSI's Philadelphia office initiated an investigation into individuals using an international website to distribute and collect child pornography. Between February and March 2013, HSI obtained log files from Russian law enforcement regarding a user profile which was later traced to Edwards' residence. HSI special agents later seized 20,116 images and videos of child pornography from his residence.
If convicted of the count for possessing child pornography, Edwards faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Gallant, Northern District of Oklahoma, is prosecuting this case.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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-THE-LOST.
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.