Offenses include conspiracy to kidnap and murder person overseas, and child pornography
Vermont Business Magazine The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Sean Fiore, 37, of Burlington, Vermont, pleaded guilty on October 14, 2021, in United States District Court in Burlington, Vermont, to: murder for hire, conspiracy to kidnap and murder a person overseas, conspiracy to produce child pornography, and possession of child pornography.
U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss set a sentencing date of March 1, 2022.
In his plea agreement with the government, Fiore admitted to the following:
In September 2018, Fiore, in Vermont and using the alias “Marcus,” had communicated over WhatsApp with co-defendant Moraima Escarlet Vasquez Flores in Venezuela who was using the alias “Johana,” about Fiore’s interest in purchasing a video from Vasquez Flores depicting the kidnapping and torture of a “slave.”
Vasquez Flores agreed to make the video to Fiore’s specifications for $600, which Fiore ultimately delivered in the form of Amazon gift cards. Fiore and Vasquez Flores discussed that Vasquez Flores was going to use a child to make the video. On October 3, 2018, Vasquez Flores sent Fiore a hyperlink to a video file, depicting sadistic abuse of a prepubescent boy consistent with Fiore’s specifications. In the video, Vasquez Flores inflicted pain on the child for the sexual arousal of the viewer of the video.
Fiore and Vasquez Flores subsequently used WhatsApp to discuss Fiore’s desire to purchase another video from Vasquez Flores which showed Vasquez Flores torturing and killing a “slave” she would kidnap in her home country of Venezuela. Vasquez Flores told Fiore that she intended to kidnap a slave by enticing a man to leave with her from a party with the promise of sex. Fiore sent Vasquez Flores specifications for the types of physical abuse, humiliation, and manner of death he wished to see in the video.
In December 2018, Fiore agreed to pay Vasquez Flores $4,000 for the second video. In April 2019, Vasquez Flores sent Fiore a hyperlink to a 58-minute video file depicting the requested sadistic abuse and possible death of an adult male.
At sentencing, Fiore faces up to 20 years of imprisonment for murder for hire; up to 10 years of imprisonment for possession of child pornography; up to lifetime imprisonment for conspiring to kidnap or murder a person in a foreign country; and up to 30 years of imprisonment with a mandatory minimum term of 15 years for conspiracy to produce child pornography.
The Court will determine Fiore’s ultimate sentence after considering the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines, the sentencing factors set forth at 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), and the impact of the mandatory minimum prison terms applicable to any count of conviction.
The woman who sent Fiore the videos, 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.
Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan A. Ophardt makes this announcement with Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Matthew Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Boston. Acting U.S. Attorney Ophardt commended the efforts of Homeland Security Investigations and the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and is grateful for the expertise contributed to the prosecution by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, DOJ Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, and DOJ Office of International Affairs.
Barbara A. Masterson, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont, Patrick Jasperse, Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, and Eduardo Palomo, Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, represent the government. Maryanne E. Kampmann, Esq. and Robert L. Sussman, Esq. of Stetler, Allen, Kampmann & Sussman, PLLC, represent Fiore.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and Child Exploitation Obscenity Section, Criminal Division (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.