A resident of a Pittsburgh suburb was sentenced in federal court to 90 months in prison for violating federal child exploitation laws, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.
U.S. District Judge Robert J. Colville imposed the sentence on Anthony Bellisario, 58, formerly of Robinson Township, PA.
According to information presented to the court, Bellisario was identified as a user of the darknet website “Welcome to Video” as a result of a large-scale, international investigation into images and videos of child sexual exploitation offered for sale using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. From January 21, 2017 to February 27, 2018, Bellisario downloaded approximately 1,673 files containing child sexual abuse material (commonly referred to as child pornography) and uploaded approximately six files to the website in exchange for credits to receive “free” videos containing child sexual abuse material.
The court was also told that on March 27, 2018, law enforcement seized two laptops belonging to Bellisario during the execution of a federal search warrant at Bellisario’s residence. On those laptops, law enforcement found 1,000 individual videos and 443 individual images containing child sexual abuse material, as well as 769 individual videos and 9,340 individual images containing child erotica.
Bellisario used a Virtualized Private Network (VPN) to mask his identity online because he “knew what he was doing was illegal. That way you can’t be found doing things that are illegal.” The court was further informed that Bellisario admitted to law enforcement that he had viewed child sexual abuse material over the past 15 years.
Judge Colville remanded Bellisario into custody and denied his request to self-report to law enforcement at a later date.