Bulgarian national sentenced for websites that exploited child models

June 15 (UPI) -- A Bulgarian national was sentenced to 25 years in prison Thursday for conspiracy to traffic images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of young children, according to the Department of Justice.

"According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Plamen Georgiev Velinov, 49, of Sofia, helped manage and administer the Newstar Enterprise, an internet-based business that profited from the sexual exploitation of vulnerable children under the guise of 'child modeling,' through a collection of websites called Newstar Websites," the Justice Department said in a press release Thursday.


Justice Department officials say Velinov, who was convicted by a federal jury in January, received at least $400,000 in a Bulgarian bank account from co-conspirators in the United States. The website reportedly shared more than 4.6 million images, including images of children as young as 6 in "sexual and provocative poses."

Most of the victims were recruited from Eastern Europe under false pretenses.

"To generate content for Newstar Websites, Newstar Enterprise members sourced, enticed, solicited, and recruited males and females under the age of 18, many of whom were prepubescent, to use as 'child models' for the Newstar Websites," the Justice Department said.


The Justice Department says Newstar Websites had subscribers in more than 100 nations and that the website generated more than $9.4 million, much of which was laundered through a fake jewelry company.

So far, seven people have been charged in connection with Newstar websites.

The investigation was conducted by multiple U.S. agencies and assisted by Bulgarian police.

Latest Headlines