CATONSVILLE, MD – U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake today sentenced Bilal Mohammad Siddiqui, age 23, of Catonsville, Maryland, to 24 years in federal prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, for the federal charges of sexual exploitation of children and cyberstalking.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department.
“The facts of this case are disturbing and demonstrate how a sexual predator uses the Internet to victimize innocent children,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Our community is safer now that Bilal Siddiqui will serve 24 years in federal prison, where there is no parole—ever. I hope all parents will discuss this case with their children so that they will think twice before communicating with a stranger through the Internet. Law enforcement will continue to work to identify and prosecute those who would harm our children.”
“Bilal Siddiqui exploited and humiliated numerous children, some even as young as eight years old,” said Jennifer C. Boone, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Field Office. “With nothing more than a computer and a few keystrokes, modern predators, like Siddiqui, have a limitless number of victims at their fingertips. We remain vigilant in continuing efforts to identify and hold accountable these offenders, but we also need the community to discuss the reality of online predators with children and report any suspected offenses to law enforcement.”
According to his guilty plea, between April 2017 and August 2018, Siddiqui used the Internet-based communication services LiveMe, Snapchat, Kik, and FaceTime to coerce at least six minor females, ages 8 to 14, into creating and sending him sexually explicit images and videos of themselves. Siddiqui also attempted to sexually extort one of those victims, a sixth-grader. When she refused to produce additional sexually explicit videos of herself, he sent images and videos that she had previously shared with him to her sixth-grade classmates and friends.
Prior to September 2017, Siddiqui created a fake account on LiveMe, a mobile application that allowed users to stream live video over the Internet and simultaneously chat with viewers, using an anonymous username and a photograph of a young boy as his profile picture, so that other users would not realize he was an adult male. One of the users misled by Siddiqui was Jane Doe 1, an 8-year-old girl.
On September 28, 2017, Jane Doe 1 was using LiveMe to broadcast a video of herself exercising in her pajamas. Siddiqui was among several LiveMe users watching the broadcast. When a number of those viewers asked Jane Doe 1 to show them her underwear, she refused, and eventually terminated the broadcast. Not long after, however, Jane Doe 1 began streaming a new LiveMe broadcast, and a number of viewers from her earlier broadcast—including Siddiqui—followed her to the new broadcast. During the new broadcast, Jane Doe 1 told her viewers that she was 13 years old. Again, they enticed her to undress and expose herself. While she initially refused their requests, Jane Doe 1 eventually did give in to the requests of Siddiqui and other viewers, undressing and exposing her genitals to the camera.
Toward the end of Jane Doe 1’s broadcast, Siddiqui persuaded her to end her live stream and to contact him privately. They communicated via FaceTime, and during these video chats, Jane Doe 1 again told Siddiqui that she was 13 years old. He nonetheless instructed her to remove her shirt, pants, and underwear, then instructed Jane Doe 1 to use a marker to write his first name on her skin next to her genitalia. He also instructed her to send him sexually explicit pictures of herself via text message. She complied with his instruction and sent Siddiqui at least one picture of herself.
Viewers of Jane Doe 1’s LiveMe broadcast reported the sexually explicit requests and conduct described above to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Law enforcement identified Siddiqui as the person who persuaded Jane Doe 1 to chat privately and obtained a search warrant for his residence. On September 5, 2018, officers executed the search warrant and located the cellphone that Siddiqui used to communicate with Jane Doe 1.
Siddiqui was present during the search, waived his Miranda rights, and voluntarily agreed to be interviewed by law enforcement. He admitted that the phone was his, that it was passcode-protected, that he had used LiveMe on the phone, and that he created the fake LiveMe profile using a photograph of a former classmate to disguise his identity. He admitted that he used his fake LiveMe account to communicate with Jane Doe 1, and later admitted—after initially denying—that he communicated privately with Jane Doe 1 through FaceTime, including instructing her to send him sexually explicit images of herself via text message, and that he believed Jane Doe 1 was 13 years old.
While Siddiqui was being interviewed, law enforcement conducted an on-scene forensic review of the phone and discovered evidence that he had also sexually exploited Jane Doe 2, a 9-year-old female. Siddiqui told law enforcement that he began communicating with Jane Doe 2 in August 2018 using Snapchat, and continued to do so as recently as September 3, 2018—two days before the execution of the search warrant. Siddiqui also admitted that he created videos of Jane Doe 2, and estimated that there were 10 videos of Jane Doe 2 engaging in sexually explicit conduct saved on his phone. Siddiqui advised that he captured the videos by using his phone’s screen recording function, and that he believed Jane Doe 2 was 11 or 12 years old.
During the interview Siddiqui advised law enforcement that he had engaged in similar conduct with between 10 and 50 girls using mobile applications. Siddiqui stated that he caused minor females to engage in sexually explicit conduct on video and that he derived sexual gratification from it.
Following Siddiqui’s interview, law enforcement obtained records associated with online accounts controlled and used by Siddiqui. Those records showed that Siddiqui had coerced Jane Doe 4, an 11-year-old sixth-grader, into producing and sending him a nude image and nude videos of herself. Siddiqui began communicating with Jane Doe 4 on September 15, 2017, and told her that he was 15 years old and lived in her town. Within days, he had convinced Jane Doe 4 that they were in a relationship, and she revealed the name of the middle school that she was attending.
On October 4, 2017, Siddiqui began demanding that Jane Doe 4 send him sexually explicit images, and threatened to send one of the videos of Jane Doe 4 to her classmates, friends, and family if she did not produce and send further videos of herself engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Siddiqui specifically told Jane Doe 4, “Don’t play games with me …. I’ll expose u [right now] and ruin your life.” Jane Doe 4 begged him not to follow through on his threats and sent him additional explicit videos. After she sent the videos, Siddiqui told Jane Doe 4 that it was “too late” because he had already sent them to her friends.
On October 7, 2017, Jane Doe 4 tried to end her relationship with Siddiqui through a conversation on Snapchat. Siddiqui reacted by demanding that she immediately produce videos of herself engaging in sexually explicit conduct. After she refused, Siddiqui sent one sexually explicit image and two sexually explicit videos of Jane Doe 4 to two unidentified Snapchat users. On October 12, 2017, a classmate of Jane Doe 4 alerted her middle school guidance counselor that images of Jane Doe 4 were being circulated. School administrators conducted a brief investigation to ensure the images had been deleted but did not contact law enforcement.
Electronic evidence further revealed that, between April 2017 and September 2018, Siddiqui used Snapchat and Kik to entice three additional minors, an 11-year-old, a 12-year-old, and a 14-year-old, to produce and send him sexually explicit images and videos. In each instance, he lied about his real age to persuade these minors to send him such materials.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI and the Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation and thanked the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for its assistance. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey J. Izant and Paul E. Budlow, who prosecuted the case.