A Florida man has admitted to misrepresenting himself as a modeling agent in order to manipulate a minor into sending him sexually explicit images and videos of himself, authorities said.
Joseph Germain, 31, of Casselberry, Fla., pleaded guilty to first-degree manufacturing of child sexual exploitation material and second-degree distribution of child sexual exploitation material, the acting prosecutor says. of Monmouth County, Lori Linskey.
Linskey urges other potential victims to contact authorities.
Judgment is scheduled for May 13.
An investigation into Germain’s activities has been opened by the Brielle Police Department, which has determined that several years ago the accused created a fake persona online, claiming to be “Alex” from a company called “Elite Model Management,” using the email address [email protected], Linskey said.
In 2017, the investigation determined that Germain contacted a minor living in Brielle, claiming he wanted to help him create a modeling portfolio and promising a $50,000 contract. After the victim agreed, Germain convinced her to electronically send him numerous photos and videos of herself in sexually explicit poses, the prosecutor said.
During their interactions, the victim openly indicated to Germain that she did not feel comfortable sending the photos and videos due to her age, but he persisted in demanding additional files. Sometimes Germain would send him fake screenshots of an employee supposedly named “Cassandra,” promising to release the money once the victim’s “wallet” was full, Linskey said.
The victim never received payment – but eventually began receiving text messages from several phone numbers claiming to be employees of “Elite Model Management”, threatening to post her photos and videos on the internet unless she send additional explicit material. Eventually, some of the videos made their way online.
The investigation determined that Germain was responsible for the various threatening texts – and for posting the videos online, Linskey said. Germain was arrested in Florida in 2019 and extradited to New Jersey for prosecution.
“This investigation has left us strongly convinced of the very real possibility that there may be other victims who have yet to come forward,” Linskey said. “To any remaining victims who may be out there, I would just say this: what was done to you was not just wrong, deceptive and cruel – it was criminal. We urge you to come talk to us and ensure that you will be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. We need your help to ensure that justice is served.
If anyone believes they or someone they know has been the victim of a similar or identical scam, please contact Detective Ryan Maxsiell of the Brielle Police Department at 848-232-5016, or Monmouth County Attorney’s Office Special Victims Office at 732-431-7160, ext. 7731.
Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can submit a report to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential hotline at 1-800-671-4400; by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available on iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/1182), calling 800-671-4400 or visiting the website at address www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant District Attorney Joseph Cummings of the MCPO Special Office for Victims.
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