Anthony Bellisario, 57, admitted using Welcome to Video, a so-called “child pornography market,” to purchase and download thousands of videos featuring child abuse content. He also uploaded content in return for access to free videos on the site.
Welcome to Video, according to the Department of Justice, was the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content. The site was run by Jong Woo Son, 25, of South Korea, from June 2015 to March 2018. An international investigation led to Son’s arrest on March 5, 2018. He served two years in prison and completed his sentence in April 2020.
During the investigation, law enforcement identified 250,000 unique videos. The videos helped authorities discover and rescue of 23 victims. Investigators have been examining the blockchain for transactions associated with the site’s Bitcoin address that received more than 420 Bitcoins from users of Welcome to Video.
Blockchain analysis helped investigators identify many of suspected users of the site in the United States. Investigators, according to court documents, identified Bellisario as one of the many people who sent money to the Welcome to Video payment address. He paid for 1,673 videos using Bitcoin. He also uploaded unique content in exchange for access to free video on the site, an offense that raised base offense level from 22 to 27. The type and quantity of the videos helped the government raise Bellisario’s offense level to 40.
Bellisario provided law enforcement officers from Homeland security Investigations with much of the information used in the criminal complaint. For example:
BELLISARIO stated he usually views child pornography when he is under the influence of drugs, namely cocaine. BELLISARIO was asked if he currently had any narcotics in the residence, to which he stated, “yes, in my dresser drawer, they have probably already found it.”
During the execution of the search warrant, investigators discovered two laptops. Between the two laptops, investigators found more than 1,000 unique videos.
Bellisario pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography and one count of knowingly accessing child pornography with intent to view it. The first charge carries a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison. The offense level’s increase from 22 to 40 points will significantly increase his sentence. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 5, 2021.