10/14/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/14/2021 13:51
A Vermont man pleaded guilty today to hiring a woman in Venezuela to kidnap an adult male and make a video of the man being beaten, tortured, and suffocated to death, and to conspiracy to produce child pornography and possession of child pornography.
According to court documents, Sean Fiore, 37, was arrested in May 2019, as part of an operation conducted by Vermont's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (VT-ICAC) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). VT-ICAC and HSI executed search warrants in one week on 15 residences based on cyber tips received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and leads developed through undercover investigation. Fiore's digital media, seized and searched by law enforcement, revealed that he paid a woman in Venezuela $4,000 to kidnap, torture, and murder a "slave" in Venezuela. According to the indictment, Fiore provided specific instructions about what he wanted, which included beating, burning with a cigarette, urinating and defecating on, and suffocating the so-called slave to death. Fiore requested a video of the torture and murder, which the woman sent to him over the internet.
According to the plea agreement, Fiore's digital media also revealed that he paid the same woman $600 to create a video of her inflicting sexually motivated sadistic abuse on a child. The woman also created that video and sent it to Fiore online. In addition, Fiore possessed other images and videos depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, including sexual intercourse and sadistic abuse.
Fiore pleaded guilty to murder-for-hire, conspiracy to kidnap or murder a person in a foreign country, conspiracy to produce child pornography, and possession of child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 1, 2022, and faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, and up to life. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors
The woman who sent Fiore the videos, co-defendant Moraima Escarlet Vasquez Flores, is charged with conspiracy to murder and kidnap a person in a foreign country, conspiracy to produce child pornography, production of child pornography, and aiding and abetting the receipt of child pornography. Vasquez Flores was arrested in Colombia pursuant to an Interpol Red Notice on Sept. 18, 2020. The United States is seeking her extradition from Colombia to the United States to face these charges. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Masterson of the District of Vermont, Trial Attorney Patrick Jasperse of the Criminal Division's Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, and Trial Attorney Eduardo Palomo of the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section are prosecuting the case with the assistance of the Justice Department's Office of International Affairs.