Clay County man charged with 'sextortion' of teen

Richard Finkbiner

An Indiana man is in trouble after federal investigators arrested him for an Internet sex crime called "sextortion." It involves minors and social media websites.

The warning is for parents to know what their children are doing online.

Federal investigators are preparing to go through thousands of photos and videos from the suspect's computer.

Richard Finkbiner, 39, of Brazil, Indiana faces one count of sexually exploiting a minor. Investigators say as they dig deeper, more charges could come.

Investigators say Finkbiner used social media websites and chatrooms to befriend young boys online. He allegedly coaxed them into sending explicit photos and videos of themselves.

Then Finkbiner reportedly blackmailed them by threatening to post the images if they didn't send more.

"Not money, but more images. Specifically, images that are graphic," said U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett.

Investigators say a teen in Michigan and another in Maryland were Finkbiner's targets. Court documents say Finkbiner estimated to FBI agents that he had coerced at least 100 individuals into such videos.

During a new conference about the case Monday morning, investigators announced they are preparing to go through thousands of photos and videos from Finkbiner's computer, which could result in more charges.

"Sometimes the threat is to make an appearance before their teachers or their friends or their coaches or their pastors; make these images to people available close to them, which is designed to frighten them," said Hogsett.

Finkbiner reportedly told one of his victims that he is a professional hacker and had his tracks covered, but investigators say he wasn't good enough. He goes to federal court for his initial hearing Wednesday.

In addition to raiding Finkbiner's home, authorities also raided his Internet business in Brazil, New Wave Communications.

Online etiquette expert Christie Herron warns young people about how they use all forms of social media.

"Be it Facebook, be it Twitter, those same photos can be traced back to you 10-15 years later," Herron said.

Even if your child hasn't come across a suspect like Finkbiner, investigators say being a nosy parent can help keep them safe in cyberspace.

Annie and Michael Beck say they have always closely monitored their children's online activity.

"If it's someone who they say they are the same age, it might be someone older that lives in a different place," Annie Beck said.

"You got to keep an eye on it. Annie does that in our family back her pretty strong on it," said Michael Beck.

Related links:

Excellence with Etiquette

Project Safe Childhood