The United States has imprisoned a woman for her role in a child sexual abuse material (CSAM) subscription service that produced millions of images and videos of sexualized minors.
Patrice Eileen Wilowski-Mevorah of Tampa, Florida, was one of four people charged in August in connection with the Newstar Websites operated by Newstar Enterprise, out of Florida. Since then, two more defendants have been charged.
According to court documents, Newstar purported to own and operate modeling sites hosted on servers in the United States and overseas. However, the company was in reality “an internet-based business aimed at for-profit sexual exploitation of vulnerable children under the guise of ‘child modeling.'”
Among the content sold by Newstar Websites were images and videos depicting children as young as six years old wearing transparent underwear. Other content featured children dressed in revealing swimsuits or mini-skirts holding provocative poses.
Most minors whose images were sold through the website were residents of Eastern Europe.
Newstar Enterprise was founded around 2005. Wilowski-Mevorah joined the company around 2009 and was still working for it in November 2019, when law enforcement authorities executed several search warrants across the United States and simultaneously seized Newstar Websites’ servers in the United States and Europe.
On July 6, Wilowski-Mevorah pleaded guilty to laundering money for Newstar Enterprise. Court documents show that during her decade with the company, the 53-year-old laundered at least $2.3m.
Wilowski-Mevorah fraudulently opened payment-processing accounts and bank accounts for her employer under the pretense that the accounts were for a fictitious jewelry company.
“For 10 years, she routinely used the phony company’s accounts to conceal criminal proceeds from the Newstar Websites and transfer those proceeds back to principal members of the Newstar Enterprise,” said the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.
On December 3, US District Judge Mary S. Scriven sentenced Wilowski-Mevorah to five years and three months in federal prison. The court also ordered Wilowski-Mevorah to forfeit $236,410.70.
Newstar defendant Mary Lou Bjorkman has pleaded guilty to money laundering and is awaiting sentencing. Of the remaining defendants, two are now deceased, one has been indicted and is pending extradition, and the other has been indicted and is pending trial.
Sarah Coble News Writer | INFOSECURITY MAGAZINE