A U.S. Attorney calls the Dayton man, who also distributed some of the recordings, a 'high-tech video voyeur.'

Sharon Gaudin, Contributor

July 12, 2007

2 Min Read

An Ohio man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for hacking into minors' Webcams and secretly watching and recording them in their homes.

Mark Wayne Miller, 47, of Dayton, had pled guilty in January 2006 to one count of computer intrusion, as well as to one count of sexual exploitation of children relating to his successful efforts to persuade under-age girls to engage in sexually explicit conduct for him in front of their Webcams. At the time of his arrest, Miller was on probation with the state of Ohio and was a registered sex offender.

The FBI reported that Miller confirmed in court that he developed sexual relationships with minor-aged girls over the Internet, usually in online chat rooms. Tricking the girls with a fictitious name and a photo of an unknown young male, Miller said he used the "chats" to persuade the girls to engage in sexually explicit conduct in front of active Webcams.

In other cases, he hacked into the girls' computers to secretly intercept, watch, and record live Webcam footage of them. He distributed some of the recorded Webcam footage to others.

"Miller was a high-tech video voyeur," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Gregory G. Lockhart in a statement. "He would 'phish' for the minors' passwords to a popular Internet portal, then secretly gain access to the minors' Webcam sessions."

The FBI reported that Miller's scheme was exposed when one of the girls sent a love letter to the fictitious boy Miller had made up, but she sent it to Miller's former workplace. His former employer read the letter and then found "additional evidence relating to child pornography while cleaning out Miller's work area." The employer then contacted some of the minors, and then contacted local law enforcement. After that, the FBI was called into the case.

"All of us, especially parents, must make sure we communicate with our children and let them know of the dangers that exist in the virtual world, as well as teaching them how to be safe on the Internet," Lockhart said.

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