South Jordan man sentenced to 18 years in prison for producing/distributing child exploitation materials following ICE HSI investigation
SALT LAKE CITY – A South Jordan man was sentenced on Tuesday to serve 18 years in federal prison and a lifetime of supervised release following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI).
Thomas Wallin, 23, of South Jordan, pleaded guilty to the production and dissemination of child exploitation materials. In the plea agreement, Wallin admitted to sexually abusing a minor in 2019, and to producing and distributing a sexually explicit depiction of the abuse using the internet. Wallin will also be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
According to a criminal complaint filed by prosecutors, in August of 2020, HSI special agents received a request for assistance from Australian law enforcement officials related to an individual located in Utah who was distributing child exploitation materials with an individual located in Australia. The suspect in Australia had been arrested earlier by Australian authorities, and after a review of the Australian’s Telegram social media account, he was found to have been exchanging child exploitation materials with a Utahn believed to be Thomas Wallin, of South Jordan, Utah.
The investigation showed, that in 2019, the two used the Telegram platform to share sexually explicit videos of minors under the age of seven years old, including a video which depicted Wallin sexually abusing a three-year old boy, and a separate explicit video of the same minor. Authorities were able to confirm it was Wallin who was abusing the minor in part through a distinctive bracelet worn by Wallin in the video which was later found in his home during a search warrant. Authorities also identified the presence of a mole on Wallin’s hand, which also appeared in the same video. During an interview with an HSI special agent, Wallin admitted to recording himself sexually abusing a minor male and that he had used Telegram to receive child exploitation materials from individuals using the internet. Digital media seized from Wallin at the time of arrest contained over 20 sexually explicit images of minor children under the age of twelve being sexually exploited.
“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting minor victims from violent criminals who prey on their innocence,” said U.S. Attorney Andrea T. Martinez. “The troubling facts of this case should be a reminder for parents and guardians of young children to be extremely careful of who your children are left alone with. Thanks to the investigative work by special agents from Homeland Security Investigations, the defendant in this case will be in federal prison for almost two decades, and the victims in this case can begin healing from the trauma caused by these crimes.”
Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case.
HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of DHS, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.
If anyone suspect a child might be a victim of exploitation, you are encouraged to call the HSI Tipline at 866-347-2423, or visit ice.gov/tipline.
Learn more about HSI Las Vegas’ fight against child exploitation in your community at @HSILasVegas.