Foreign Operator of Obscene Web Sites Pleads Guilty to Obscenity Charges
WASHINGTON – Danilo Simoes Croce, 43, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, an officer of Lex Multimedia, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to an obscenity-related charge in U.S. District Court in Orlando, the Justice Department announced today.
Croce pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell to one count of conspiracy to use the mail for delivery of obscene material. As part of Croce’s guilty plea, he agreed to pay a fine of $2,000 and forfeit $98,000 in cash. Croce will also forfeit to the government all equipment and materials connected with his business operations in Florida, all copies of certain obscene films in the company’s possession, and all Internet domain names used by Lex Multimedia, which also conducted business under the names Lexus Multimedia, MFX, and Dragon Films.
Croce admitted that his company, Lex Multimedia, operated various Web sites promoting the sale of sexually explicit films. Although the sites were hosted on servers located offshore, Lex employees located in the Orlando-area fulfilled orders placed on these Web sites. Payments for films distributed by Lex were deposited in the company’s bank accounts in Orlando before being transferred offshore.
Croce was indicted by a federal grand jury in Orlando on Sept. 8, 2006. He was arrested shortly thereafter during a visit to Orlando to oversee his pornography business. Croce was detained for a period of 45 days and released on $10,000 bond. Sentencing was set for Aug. 29, 2007. Croce faces a maximum of five years in prison. This case is being prosecuted by the Department of Justice’s Obscenity Prosecution Task Force and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Florida. The obscenity investigation is being led by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Investigative assistance was also provided by agents from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security in Orlando.
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