NEW YORK – A Queens man faces child exploitation charges following an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York special agents with assistance from Interpol’s Crimes Against Children Unit.
A criminal complaint against Keith Liwang, 26, was unsealed Thursday with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announcing the charges of conspiracy to produce child pornography. Liwang is alleged to have directed women on Facebook to abuse children and send him photographs of the abuse in exchange for cash.
“As alleged, the defendant victimized vulnerable children abroad by soliciting photographs and videos of their sexual abuse in exchange for money,” stated Acting United States Attorney Bridget M. Rohde. “The safety and protection of children is a priority for this Office and our law enforcement partners and we will pursue those who would endanger children to the fullest extent of the law.”
According to the complaint, in September and October 2016, Liwanag used a Facebook account to direct women in the Philippines to engage in sexual acts with children in exchange for money, and to produce and send child pornography over Facebook’s private messaging service. On September 8, 2016, the defendant sent several messages to a woman asking her to sexually abuse a six-year-old boy as part of a “show” in exchange for money. On September 11, 2016, the defendant sent and received messages from another woman about a “show” with the woman’s son and offered her money to perform a sex act on him. On October 12, 2016, the defendant sent a message to a third woman soliciting photographs of the sexual abuse of her child. In response, on October 27, 2016, the woman sent the defendant two images depicting child abuse. As set forth in court filings, the evidence obtained during the course of the investigation includes 10 recorded video conferences between the defendant and women engaged in the sexual abuse of children.
The charges in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.
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. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
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.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member 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.