Federal authorities in New Jersey said Monday they have charged a man in the most significant distribution ring of child pornography ever investigated in the United States.
The U.S. Attorney's office says Maksym Shynkarenko a 33-year-old from Kharkov, Ukraine, founded and operated a Ukraine-based child pornography website that had customers around the world and has resulted in 560 convictions throughout the United States alone.
Authorities extradited Shynkarenko from Thailand over the weekend, where he has been in custody since his 2009 arrest during a vacation to that country. Paul Fishman, the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, said Shynkarenko had been fighting extradition, which delayed the process.
Shynkarenko is charged in a 32-count indictment with child exploitation enterprise, advertising child pornography, transporting and shipping child pornography, and money laundering and other counts.
Much of the pornography that Shynkarenko allegedly dealt in depicted graphic sexual assaults and abuse of young children, in most cases by adults, Fishman said. His alleged network of websites were operational until 2008.
Prosecutors say Shynkarenko and two co-conspirators from the Ukraine and one from Russia advertised and operated numerous child porn websites and sold access to them to clients worldwide, including customers in New Jersey. They allegedly concealed the charges with innocuous business names, such as "Ad Soft," which served as fronts to conceal them from credit card companies.
Fishman says the ring's websites included names like "Illegal.cp," ''The Sick Child Room," and "Hottest Childporn Garden."
In addition to the convictions in the U.S., people have been convicted in other countries, federal authorities said. Canada is the only other country prosecutors would name.
Federal authorities says those convicted included teachers, clergy, law enforcement, lawyers, doctors, coaches and others who came in regular contact with minors.
A message left for Shynkarenko's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Linda Foster, was not immediately returned.
He's scheduled for an initial appearance in Newark federal court Monday afternoon.
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