BUFFALO, N.Y. — A New York postal worker is accused of conspiracy to produce child pornography, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
Michael Fratini, 36, of Dunkirk, was arrested Friday and charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York. If convicted, Dunkirk faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and up to 30 years behind bars, the release stated.
Fratini was taken into custody following an investigation that included the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force, according to the Post-Journal.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Fratini used his cellphone to solicit nude photos and videos of “the pre-pubescent daughters of a female acquaintance.” Prosecutors said Fratini met the mother of the victims through a dating site in October 2021, WRGZ-TV reported.
According to the news release, Fratini allegedly sent follow-up text messages “recently,” asking for videos and/or photographs of the woman’s daughters.
The woman then filed a report with the sheriff’s office, WKBW-TV reported. The sheriff’s office contacted the FBI’s Child Exploitations Task Force on Feb. 14, 2022, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.
On Friday, investigators observed Fratini leaving his workplace at the U.S. Postal Office in Buffalo and then traveling to a hotel in Amherst expecting to meet the woman, WKBW reported. He was arrested after arriving at the hotel, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Fratini worked as a mail carrier for the post office, WGRZ reported.
Fratini appeared at a detention hearing and was ordered detained, prosecutors said.
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