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Child-Modeling Site Owners Indicted

Two Florida men and a Web site corporation are facing multiple federal charges of conspiring to use a child-modeling site as a front for posing minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

The 80-count indictment, unsealed Tuesday, charges Marc Evan Greenberg, 42; Jeffrey Robert Libman, 39; and Webe Web Corp., all of the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., area.

An additional two-count criminal information indictment was unsealed charging Jeff Pierson, 43, of Brookwood, Ala., with conspiring to transport child pornography in interstate commerce using a computer.

According to the indictment, Greenberg and Libman established a child-modeling site business under the name Webe Web Corp. The business operated using three kinds of Internet sites: a central site, an advertising site and sites for each individual child model.

The indictment claims Pierson was a photographer who produced visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct in Alabama and transmitted those images by computer to Greenberg, Libman, and Webe Web in Florida. They then posted the images to the individual Web sites.

"The indictment alleges that these defendants conspired to produce pornographic images of underage girls posing in lascivious positions for profit, under the pretense of offering professional modeling services," Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher said in a statement.

The defendants' central Web site claimed to be a "Web site to promote models ages seven thru 16 and their photographers." The site contained a gallery of 15 to 21 photographs of various underage females that could be viewed for free. Users could view additional photographs by joining the site for a $25 subscription fee and $20 per month.

Webe Web promoted subscriptions to these individual sites through its free advertising Web site. Members also used discussion boards to post comments, which included those on specific images, poses and clothing they liked. Some members posted poetry and other expressions of fondness and devotion for a photograph.

According to the Department of Justice, most members were adult men who were not affiliated with the modeling industry.

"The images charged are not legitimate child modeling, but rather lascivious poses one would expect to see in an adult magazine. Here lewd has met lucrative, and exploitation of a child's innocence equals profits," U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin said in the statement.

If convicted on the conspiracy charges, Greenberg and Libman face a penalty of 15 to 30 years in jail and a maximum fine of $250,000. Webe Web Corp. faces a fine of $500,000.

On the criminal information indictment Pierson faces a jail term of five to 20 years for each of the two counts and a $250,000 fine for each count.

The indictment also seeks forfeiture of proceeds of not less than $600,000, real property and the Internet domain names and content associated with Webe Web Corp.