White Plains Resident Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Possession of 10,000 Images of Child Pornography

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that SAMUEL J. FANELLI was sentenced to 15 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel in White Plains federal court on charges of possessing, receiving, and distributing child pornography. FANELLI, 23, was arrested on January 28, 2011 by FBI agents and pleaded guilty on July 5, 2011.

U.S. Attorney Bharara stated: “Samuel Fanelli victimized children by trafficking in child pornography and, in one case, by sexually abusing a child entrusted to his care. With today’s sentence there will be one less child predator on the street.”

According to the criminal complaint, indictment, and statements made during court proceedings:

FANELLI downloaded child pornography and distributed it by sharing files via a peer-to-peer network. During a search of FANELLI’s residence prior to his arrest, his computer was seized and was found to have more than 10,000 images and videos of child pornography.

At the time of his arrest, FANELLI was working as a babysitter for numerous families in the Westchester area. In his plea agreement, FANELLI admitted that while working as a babysitter, he molested at least one of the children whom he babysat.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and thanked the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and the New Rochelle and Larchmont Police Departments for their efforts.

Mr. Bharara requests that any individuals with relevant information contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation in White Plains, New York at 914-989-6000.

The prosecution is being handled by the office’s White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca Mermelstein is in charge of the prosecution.