A Navy sailor stationed in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, pleaded guilty last week to producing child pornography and extorting minors for additional content, authorities said.
Biagio Ambrosino, a 20-year-old New York native, faces 15 to 30 years behind bars for the child pornography count and up to 20 years for the extortion count after he pleaded guilty to both offenses at a federal courthouse on Thursday, U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
According to court documents, Ambrosino communicated with at least 11 victims between the age of 10 to 17, some of whom he previously knew.
The government argued the sailor would send messages to the underage individuals and would pretend "to be a social media mogul, and inquire whether the minor wanted ‘to be Instagram famous.’"
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Prosecutors said Ambrosino would then use "several different strategies, depending on victims’ ages, cognitive ability, level of compliance and his previous knowledge of them."
He would also offer money and gifts in exchange for the photos, Assistant US Attorney Jordan Ginsberg argued.
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"Alternatively, Ambrosino would offer items of value to minors, including a camera, a lighting system, sponsorship or stuffed animals as enticements to take and send him sexually explicit pictures and videos, or to engage in sexually explicit conduct while on a video chat with him," the prosecutor said.
"When victims expressed reluctance to provide him sexually explicit depictions or to continue doing so, Ambrosino would extort them by threatening reputational harm or physical violence. Once Ambrosino successfully obtained sexually explicit content from a victim, he continued to demand increasingly explicit, invasive and humiliating content from his victims."
Court documents show Ambrosino was stationed at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans between August 2020 and January 2022, at which time he carried out the crimes.