WASHINGTON – A Nevada man pleaded guilty today to a federal charge of production of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division, and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Michael Meoni, 44, of Laughlin, Nevada, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plea, which is contingent upon the Court’s approval, calls for a sentence of 15 to 25 years in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. Following his release from prison, Meoni also will be required to register for 25 years as a sex offender. The Honorable Royce C. Lamberth scheduled sentencing for July 8, 2022.
According to the government’s evidence, on Sept. 17 and Sept. 18, 2020, Meoni communicated online with a man he believed was the father of an under-aged girl. Unbeknownst to Meoni, the man he was communicating with was an undercover detective working as part of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force.
In one conversation on Sept. 17, 2020, Meoni asked the man for pictures of his daughter. On Sept. 18, 2020, Meoni initiated contact with the undercover detective and again asked for a picture. The undercover detective asked Meoni what images he had to share, and Meoni provided explicit photos of a young girl, including some in which he also was depicted with the child. In some photos, the child was wearing a diaper.
Meoni was arrested on Sept. 18, 2020. He has been in custody ever since.
This case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. The task force is composed of FBI agents, along with other federal agents and detectives from the District of Columbia and northern Virginia. The task force is charged with investigating and bringing federal charges against individuals engaged in the exploitation of children and those engaged in human trafficking.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Graves, Special Agent in Charge Jacobs, and Chief Contee commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Metropolitan Police Department. They also acknowledged the assistance of the FBI’s Las Vegas Field Office. Finally, they expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Janani Iyengar, who is prosecuting the case.