United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Tatiana Power (41, Weston) today pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy related to a Florida-based international enterprise that operated subscription-based sexually exploitative “child modeling” websites. Power faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
According to court documents, Tatiana Power (also known as “Tanya Power”) helped run the financial affairs of the Newstar Enterprise—an internet-based business aimed at for-profit sexual exploitation of vulnerable children under the guise of “child modeling,” through a collection of websites called the Newstar Websites. Power did so as Vice President and part owner of Power Trading, Inc., a Florida corporation used to control, operate, and conceal the true nature of the Newstar Enterprise. From as early as 2009 through November 2019, Power served as Power Trading’s (and thus the Newstar Enterprise’s) “bookkeeper.” She oversaw Power Trading’s QuickBooks, filed its annual corporate registration documents, managed its bank accounts, paid salaries, helped wire money to foreign co-conspirators, and advised co-conspirators on how to evade law enforcement and conceal the true nature of monetary transactions. She routinely assisted in transferring money and making payments for the Newstar Enterprise. From January 2009 until November 2019, Power and her now deceased husband, Kenneth Power, made $2,211,651.89 in profit from the Newstar Websites.
The Newstar Enterprise and Status of Other Defendants
According to court documents, founded around 2005, the Newstar Enterprise built, maintained, hosted, and operated the Newstar Websites on servers in the United States and abroad. To populate the Newstar Websites with content, Newstar Enterprise members sourced, enticed, solicited and recruited males and females under the age of 18, some of whom were prepubescent, to use as “child models” for the Newstar Websites. Using the recruited child-victims, the Newstar Enterprise produced more than 4.6 million sexualized images and videos to distribute and sell on the Newstar Websites. Some of those images and videos, though non-nude, depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. For example, images and videos sold on the Newstar Websites depicted children as young as 6 years old in sexual and provocative poses, wearing police and cheerleader costumes, thong underwear, transparent underwear, revealing swimsuits, pantyhose, and miniskirts. Most of the child-victims—recruited from Ukraine, Moldova, and other nations in Eastern Europe—were particularly vulnerable due to their age, family dynamics and poverty. Law enforcement officers have disabled the servers hosting the Newstar Websites.
The Newstar Enterprise maintained a membership list for subscribers and customers of the Newstar Websites, who originated from 101 nations across the world. Images in the websites’ galleries were freely available to the public to preview, but greater access and more content required purchasing a subscription. The sale of purported “child modeling” content on the Newstar Websites generated more than $9.4 million during the course of the conspiracy. To process, receive and distribute this money, Newstar Enterprise members fraudulently opened merchant and bank accounts in the United States and laundered proceeds using a bogus jewelry company.
To date, six members of the Newstar Enterprise have been charged in connection with the Newstar Websites. The chart below shows the status of each case.
|Tatiana Power||8:21-cr-244-MSS-AAS||Conspiracy to commit money laundering||Pleaded guilty, sentence pending||20 years’ imprisonment|
|Kenneth Power||8:21-cr-00032-SDM-AAS||Conspiracy to advertise child pornography; conspiracy to distribute child pornography||Defendant deceased; case dismissed||60 years’ imprisonment|
|Plamen Velinov||8:21-cr-342-VMC-SPF||Conspiracy to advertise child pornography; conspiracy to distribute child pornography||Indicted||50 years’ imprisonment|
|Patrice Wilowski-Mevorah||8:21-cr-00206-MSS-TGW||Conspiracy to commit money laundering||Pleaded guilty, sentenced to 5+ years in prison|
|Anthony Lee Kendall||8:21-cr-358-SCB-TGW||Conspiracy to commit money laundering; promotion money laundering; concealment money laundering||Defendant deceased||100 years’ imprisonment|
|8:21-cr-00227-SDM-AAS||Conspiracy to commit money laundering||Pleaded guilty, sentence pending||20 years’ imprisonment|
The defendants have also been notified that the United States intends to forfeit a total of $9.4 million, which are alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offenses, in addition to real property located in Florida.
These cases were investigated by Homeland Security Investigations in Tampa and the High Technology Investigative Unit of the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), with substantial assistance provided by Homeland Security Investigations offices in Fort Lauderdale, Athens, and the Hague, U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Sofia, Bulgaria, as well as the IRS Criminal Investigation in Tampa.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Murray of the Middle District of Florida and Trial Attorney Kyle Reynolds of the CEOS are prosecuting these cases.
This investigation benefited from foreign law enforcement cooperation and substantial assistance by the Republic of Bulgaria, Supreme Cassation Prosecution Office and National Investigation Service; International Legal Assistance Center (IRC), North-Holland Unit; and the Czech Republic, Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office, Czech Police. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided investigative assistance and its Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) provided capacity building assistance and mentoring.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.