Oregon US Attorney General,
Andre Eugene Shaw, 34, of Portland, was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for extorting child pornographers for money and services.
Shaw previously pleaded guilty to extortion, transmitting extortionate communications in interstate commerce, money laundering and possessing an unregistered short-barreled assault rifle in May 2018. The victims of the extortionate acts and communications were people who produced, traded in or collected child pornography.
According to court documents, the investigation began in July 2014 when an individual arrested for producing and distributing child pornography told investigators that he had been blackmailed by an individual known to him as “Blackhands” for the preceding three years. Blackhands hacked into the victim’s computer, discovered evidence of his illicit activities and sent an email demanding payment of $10,000, or the victim’s life would be “over.”
The victim reached an agreement with the extortionist under which the victim would send $1,000 per month via Western Union money transfers to someone known to the victim as “Joe.” Joe was later identified as Shaw, who was using the alias Joe Stanis.
Over time, Blackhands began making additional demands of the victim. He directed the victim to recruit people to skim credit cards at restaurants; to buy things for Joe, including firearms, ammunition, credit card skimming equipment, and a ballistic vest; and to pick up extortion payments sent by other victims and give the money to Joe. Joe furnished the victim with false identification documents to use when picking up extortion payments, many of which were sent to the fictitious names via money transfers.
Two years prior to the unnamed victim’s arrest, Blackhands began demanding photos of the victim’s juvenile daughter and later demanded the victim give his daughter to Joe. On two or three different occasions, the victim turned his daughter over to Joe, knowing that Joe or others would use his daughter to produce child pornography. The victim drugged his daughter each time. On the most recent occasion, Blackhands directed the victim to bring certain props
including costumes, make-up, sex toys and a camera. Investigators later found the box of props in the victim’s garage and identified Shaw’s palm print on the outside of the box.
On December 18, 2014, Shaw was arrested on an outstanding state misdemeanor warrant for failure to appear. That same day, FBI agents and task force officers executed a federal search warrant at the residence Shaw shared with his girlfriend in Southeast Portland. Agents seized numerous items including counterfeit driver’s licenses from multiple states; holographic overlays for multiple state driver licenses; a counterfeit “Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act Non-Resident National” identification card that purportedly bore the seal of the U.S. Department of State; supplies and equipment for manufacturing high-quality false identification documents; books on creating a new identity; encrypted compact discs labeled with the names of multiple state departments of motor vehicles as well as the Social Security Administration and U.S. Department of Defense; compact discs labeled with the initials of numerous known extortion victims; numerous firearms, magazines, ammunition, and homemade silencers; and cash and precious metals, including silver coins and bars, gold coins, and $13,344 in U.S. currency.
In total, Shaw extorted more than $100,000 from various victims. Often, the pattern of conduct was similar: Shaw would hack into the victims’ computer, find evidence of their illegal activity and threaten to expose them unless they paid. The full extent of Shaw’s criminal activities remains a mystery, however, because his computer equipment and the discs found in his residence were all heavily encrypted. To date, the government’s attempts to defeat the encryption have been unsuccessful and, as a result, investigators have been unable to definitively say whether Shaw was Blackhands.
At least two of Shaw’s victims are now dead, having taken their own lives after they were contacted by law enforcement officers. At least one young girl—the victim’s daughter—was victimized by Shaw or someone he knew.
This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Gary Y. Sussman and Julia E. Jarrett, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
The FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF) conducts sexual exploitation investigations – many of them undercover – in coordination with other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The Portland FBI’s CETF consists of agents and task force officers from the Beaverton Police Department, Portland Police Bureau, Tigard Police Department, Hillsboro Police Department, and the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. The FBI’s CETF is committed to locating and arresting those who prey on children as well as recovering underage victims of sex trafficking and child exploitation.
Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children are encouraged to call the FBI at (503) 224-4181 or submit a tip online at www.fbi.gov/tips.