Suspect in ‘sextortion’ case has first court appearance Wednesday

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It was a quick court proceeding Wednesday in Terre Haute for the man accused of ‘sextortion,’ a case that could involve more than 100 victims.

Richard Finkbiner appeared in court for the first time since being arrested for child exploitation charges.

Finkbiner is accused of coercing two teenage boys from Michigan and Maryland into sexual activity through online video chat.

However, investigators believe there may be more than 100 more victims, making it one of the biggest cases of its kind.

According to court documents, Finkbiner recorded his alleged victims doing sexually explicit acts and then used the recordings to blackmail them into sending more sexual photos and videos, a crime referred to as ‘sextorition’.

“Frankly, as a law enforcement official and as a parent, it is the types of allegations in these cases that keep me up and night and we are confident in our case we are confident in our ability to protect any and all victims, alleged victims in this matter,” said U.S. Prosecutor Joe Hogsett.

In court Wednesday, Finkbiner waived his right to a preliminary hearing and to a detention hearing.  He will remain in federal custody until he goes to trial.

“Formal charges will be filed either by information or indictment by the grand jury and following formal charges, we will proceed to trial or other resolution to the matter,” said assistant U.S. attorney Zach Meyers.

The formal charge will likely be for the production of child pornography, which takes approximately 30 days.

Finkbiner’s family attended the hearing Wednesday, but they had no comment about the accusations.

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