ROCHESTER — Federal investigators are asking the public for assistance in building a case against a Wayne County man who used a fake Snapchat account to entice and coerce minors into sending him explicit photographs and videos.
Matthew Holland, 28, was arrested Monday on federal charges of production, receipt and possession of child pornography and online enticement of a minor.
Those charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison.
The charges stem from an investigation that began in Loudoun County, Va.
According to the complaint, on March 9 investigators with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Leesburg, Va., received a report that Snapchat user “Tjohnson755” had engaged in sexually explicit conversations with a 14-year-old girl. The complaint states that “Tjohnson755,” later identified as Holland, coerced the minor into sending him nude photographs.
When the minor indicated that she did not wish to continue communicating, Holland threatened to disseminate the minor’s photographs over the internet. Using this and other threats, Holland coerced the minor to continue to send him sexually explicit photographs and videos.
Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office detectives executed a search warrant on Holland’s “Tjohnson755” Snapchat account, and using IP information, located the defendant’s residence in Newark, Wayne County. While analyzing the Snapchat account, investigators identified dozens of similar conversations with other suspected minors.
Loudoun sheriff’s investigators, Newark police and Wayne County sheriff’s also searched Holland’s residence.
A preliminary forensic analysis of computers and other digital items seized revealed hundreds of images and videos of child pornography, including child pornography depicting prepubescent minors, and child pornography that Holland produced from known and unknown minors using his “Tjohnson755” Snapchat account.
During the execution of the search warrant, Holland indicated to investigators that he operated Illumination Images on West Union Street in Newark, where he had hidden cameras in the dressing room, in order to record customers, including minors, in various stages of undress.
Holland was extradited to Leesburg, Va. and hit with state charges.
He remains detained in Virginia and will be transported back to this area for federal prosecution.
Agents with Homeland Security Investigations believe Holland has numerous other victims who have yet to come forward and that the victims could be anywhere.
“The allegation of child exploitation by a trusted member of our community is reprehensible and demands swift action,” said Kevin Kelly, Homeland Security Investigations Buffalo Special Agent-in-Charge. “HSI is urging those with any information about the defendant to come forward to ensure justice for those that may have been victimized.”
Holland was working as a teacher’s assistant at Newark High School. He also worked at YMCA in Canandaigua, where he is believed to have secretly recorded minors.
His previous employment also includes working at a daycare center, as a teacher at Wayne CAP, Head Start/Early Head Start and as a display coordinator for Volunteers of America.
“As an educator and photographer, the defendant not only had access to children but occupied a position of trust with respect to them,” U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy said. “However, as reflected in the allegations set forth in the criminal complaint, his cruel and unrelenting betrayal of that trust is every parent’s nightmare. This case serves as a sobering reminder that we must remain vigilant in our effort to educate our children to the dangers they face and to pay attention to their online activities. Too often children lack the real world experience needed to discern the dangers lurking in the virtual world.”
Anyone with information about Holland, Illumination Images or Snapchat user Tjohnson755 can contact Homeland Security at (716) 464-6070 or email at email@example.com.