Joshua B. Ferreri, 28, of West Berlin, N.J., was sentenced to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge John T. Kelley in Camden County. He pleaded guilty on Oct. 1, 2014 to an accusation charging him with second-degree offering of child pornography. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. Deputy Attorney General Anand Shah prosecuted Ferreri and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
In pleading guilty, Ferreri admitted that he knowingly used Internet file sharing software to make one or more files containing child pornography readily available for any other user to download from a designated “shared folder” on his computer. Ferreri was arrested on April 13, 2012, when a search warrant was executed at his residence by the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigation Unit and TEAMS South Unit. Investigators seized Ferreri’s laptop computer, which was found to contain child pornography. A later forensic examination of the computer at the Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory in Hamilton revealed more than 800 images and videos of suspected child pornography, more than 50 of which were in shared folders and readily available to be downloaded by other peer-to-peer, or P2P, network users.
“The hundreds of files of child pornography found on Ferreri’s computer are an alarming indicator of how much of this filth is available on the Internet,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “Every file represents an act of sexual abuse and exploitation of an innocent child, and every user who shares these abhorrent materials re-victimizes those children. We’re working hard to send these offenders to prison and ensure that the public is warned of them under Megan’s Law.”
“We’ll continue to patrol cyberspace with our law enforcement partners to arrest anyone who sexually exploits children as part of this network of manufacturers, distributers and users of child pornography,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We have the technology and the will to catch these offenders and put them behind bars.”
Ferreri was charged in Operation Watchdog, a multi-agency investigation in which one woman and 26 men were arrested in March and April of 2012 on charges of distribution and possession of child pornography. The State Police Digital Technology Investigation Unit coordinated the investigation, which also involved the Division of Criminal Justice and 19 other law enforcement agencies.
Detectives linked all of the defendants to alleged use of the Internet to download and distribute images of child pornography. Peer-to-peer file sharing networks play a major role in the distribution of child pornography. There is a large library of images and videos known to law enforcement, and these electronic files can be traced in various ways on the Internet. Detectives involved in Operation Watchdog tracked transferred files to their origin and destination locations.
All of the New Jersey agencies that partnered in Operation Watchdog are members of the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC). Additionally, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI assisted with the investigation and execution of warrants. Acting Attorney General Hoffman thanked the Berlin Township Police Department for its valuable assistance.
Acting Attorney General Hoffman and Director Honig urged anyone who has information about the distribution of child pornography on the Internet or who suspects improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the Internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children to contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.