According to United States Attorney Southern District of Indiana Joe Hogsett, Richard L. Finkbiner, 40, Brazil, filed a petition before United States District Judge William T. Lawrence to plead guilty to child exploitation, extortion and possession of child pornography.
On Thursday, Hogsett, appearing at a press conference at the Clay County Justice Center, told media outlets Finkbiner agreed to plead guilty to 11 counts of sexually exploiting minors by "inducing or coercing them into producing child pornography," in addition to two counts of extorting minor females to produce semi-nude images of themselves and one count of possessing child pornography.
"From the outset, our focus in this case has been on fully investigating this alleged criminal activity so that we can provide closure -- and justice -- for the hundreds of potential victims affected by (Finkbiner)," Hogsett said. "(Thursday's) announcement brings us one step closer to achieving that justice."
While prosecutors had initially sought a life sentence for Finkbiner, on Thursday, Hogsett said if the petition is agreed upon, he would face a minimum of 30 years in prison.
"Obviously, the government will be arguing the sentence be higher than 30 years," Hogsett said.
In April 2012, Finkbiner was arrested by federal authorities and charged with sexual exploitation of two minors by inducing and coercing them into sexually explicit activity online.
During the serving of the search warrant of Finkbiner's home in Clay County, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) discovered thousands of sexually explicit images and videos depicting hundreds of possible victims.
After three months of forensic analysis and investigation, in July 2012, prosecutors filed additional charges related to a "sextortion" scheme, including allegations related to 10 additional male and female minor victims across the country.
According to prosecutors, Finkbiner allegedly used the Internet to "prey" upon children and teens from across the country. The alleged victims ranged in age from 12 to 17 and lived in Indiana, West Virginia, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, Michigan, Illinois and Colorado.
In addition, Finkbiner was charged with extorting two additional female victims, one 16, from Alaska, and another, 14, from Minnesota, allegedly threatening them with the distribution of sexually suggestive and/or partially nude images.
On Thursday, Hogsett and United States Assistant Attorney Zachary A. Myers said an additional charge was filed against Finkbiner charging child exploitation of another victim in Michigan.
According to prosecutors, Finkbiner allegedly used Omegle.com, as well as other anonymous video chat websites, to locate children on the Internet. He allegedly would then utilize "fake webcam" software to display pornographic videos of adults and of children to his victims, which Finkbiner allegedly claimed to be live feeds from his webcam.
During the display of the videos, Finkbiner would allegedly then induce the victims to engage in sexually explicit or suggestive activity themselves, which he then recorded.
Prosecutors stated Finkbiner would allegedly confront his chat partners with the videos of their activities, threatening to publish the videos to pornographic websites or send them to the victim's families, friends and school teachers unless they became his "cam slaves," and engaged in additional sexually explicit activity, of which he also allegedly recorded.
Myers said if the court accepts the plea, not only is Finkbiner facing the minimum of 30 years in prison, but he also agreed to lifetime supervision by law enforcement if ever released.
Under the proposed agreement, Finkbiner also faces a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the charged offenses.
The FBI, Oakland City (Michigan) Sheriff's Department, Prince George's County (Maryland) Police Department, Indiana State Police, Clay County Sheriff's Department, Terre Haute Police Department and Kokomo Police Department all contributed to the investigation, among others.
"The level of commitment and dedication the Clay County Sheriff's Department has shown ... in cases of this nature, size and scope, we wouldn't be able to prosecute," Hogsett said.
"This is the type of crime you'd expect to see on MSNBC, not in our little county," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton noted.
Myers added U.S. Attorneys are continuing to investigate the case actively. However, he said if the agreement is accepted, prosecutors have agreed not to file additional charges of the kind Finkbiner is currently facing.
"Sextortion, while infrequent, is gaining notoriety," Hogsett added. "I'd like to say it's on the decline, but because of the Internet, there are people out there who will (attempt it)."
Prosecutors added to the best of their knowledge, this is one of, if not, the largest sextortion scheme ever witnessed.