Fort Edward man gets 24-year prison sentence for porn scam

Fort Edward man gets 24-year prison sentence for catfish porn scam

A Fort Edward, New York man who pretended to be a young girl online to convince a teenage boy to send him nude photos has been sentenced to more than 24 years in federal prison.

James J. Mattison, 47, pleaded guilty in May in connection with his September 2017 arrest in Fort Edward that occurred when Washington County probation officers became suspicious of his activity. U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe imposed a 292-month stint in federal prison, to be followed by lifetime parole upon release.

Catfish

Authorities said Mattison created an online account on a social media website pretending to be a girl named “Megan Mattison” and started a conversation via text message with a 13-year-old boy from Georgia. Mattison convinced the teen to send him sexually explicit photos by pretending to be the young girl who was threatening suicide unless he complied, court records show.

The boy ultimately sent him numerous explicit photos, according to the FBI.

County probation officers learned of the communications when reviewing his phone as part of his probation on a felony grand larceny conviction.

His defense lawyer, assistant public defender Matthew Trainor, wrote in a pre-sentencing memorandum that Mattison was cooperative when caught, and did not have a history of any other sex offenses.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia Suarez asked for a sentence of between 292 and 360 months in prison.

“The exploitation revolved around the defendant lying about his gender and age and going to significant lengths, playing on the young victim’s emotions, to persuade the victim to take and send naked and sexually explicit pictures of himself to the defendant,” Suarez wrote in a pre-sentencing memorandum.

“Having adopted the false persona of a teenage girl, the defendant accomplished the sadistic abuse of a child without ever needing to find personal, physical access to an actual child,” Suarez noted.

At one point, the victim claimed Mattison was “blackmailing” him by threatening suicide, she pointed out.

This case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the State Police and Washington County Probation Department.

The Post-Star

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