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Webmaster Pleads Guilty to Obscenity Charges in Fla.

Webmaster Pleads Guilty to Obscenity Charges in Fla.
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Jun 8, 2007 9:00 AM PDT    Text size: 
ORLANDO — Danilo Simoes Croce, the Brazilian webmaster who operated domains under the company name Lex Multimedia, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single count of conspiracy to use the mail for delivery of obscene material, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Croce entered his guilty plea before Judge Gregory Presnell of the U.S. District in Orlando, agreeing to pay a $2,000 fine and to forfeit $98,000 in cash. Croce also will forfeit to the U.S. government all “equipment and materials connected with his business operations in Florida, all copies of certain obscene films in the company's possession, and all Internet domain names used by Lex Multimedia,” according to a Justice Department statement.

Lex Multimedia also conducted business under the names Lexus Multimedia, MFX and Dragon Films.

Although Croce’s websites were all hosted on servers located offshore, employees of Lex Multimedia located in the Orlando area fulfilled orders placed for videos through the websites, according to the Justice Department. Payments for the videos were deposited in the company’s bank accounts in Orlando before being transferred offshore.

Croce was indicted by a federal grand jury in Orlando in September, and was arrested shortly following the indictment while on a trip there to oversee the operation of his business, the Justice Department said. Croce was then detained for a period of 45 days before being released on $10,000 bond.

In addition to fines equipment forfeiture, Croce faces a maximum of five years in prison on the conspiracy to deliver obscene materials charge. Sentencing in the case is set for Aug. 29.

According to the Justice Department, the investigation into Croce’s business was led by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with assistance from Orlando-based agents from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division of the Department of Homeland Security.

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