Operation Landslide - Crash of an Internet Porn King

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    • 00:36

      NARRATOR: This is the computer websitewhich has generated the world's biggest criminal investigation.

    • 00:42

      TERRI MOORE: And you could see Thomas Reedy's bannerthat said, for child porn, click here.That was crystal clear.

    • 00:48

      MIKE MEAD: He had a banner-- click here,child porn-- on his home page.And when you clicked that banner, that's what you got.Child porn.

    • 00:57

      NARRATOR: Almost 250,000 people in 60 countrieshave paid to view horrific images of child abuselike these.Nearly 6,000 of them live in Britain.

    • 01:09

      CAROLE HOWLETT: There is no hiding place here.If you engaged in that particular website, thenyou will be getting a knock on the door from a law enforcementagency.

    • 01:18

      JOHN CARR: mean, it was mind blowing.Nobody was prepared for those kinds of numbers.

    • 01:24

      NARRATOR: The Landslide Productions casessparked the largest pedophile operation in Britain,targeting people from all walks of life.Doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, politicians,musicians, and many more face social disgraceand the prospect of imprisonment.

    • 01:41

      NEWS ANCHOR: Two police officers have been charged--

    • 01:43

      NARRATOR: British police have even investigated50 of their own officers.

    • 01:47

      NEWS ANCHOR: Police were standing as PC AnthonyGoodrich-- with his hands over his face-- arrived in--

    • 01:53

      NARRATOR: US law enforcement officialswere the first to find the Landslide Company website.The name of the site seemed innocent enough.Its contents were not.The Landslide files they found havebeen given to this program.

    • 02:06

      BILL WALSH: We had people who had military addresses.We had people who had government addresses.Then, obviously, we could see by some of the addressesthat we had people in foreign countries.

    • 02:16

      NEWS ANCHOR: Crouched in the back of a Mercedes,Pete Townsend was released at around midnight.He was bailed from Twickenham Police Stationafter being questioned for an hour and 20 minutes.

    • 02:25

      BILL WALSH: We realized that we had reallyopened up Pandora's box.

    • 02:30

      NARRATOR: This is the image of Thomas Reedy,the errant American computer genius whoseinternet crimes have got so many people into trouble.The failed high school graduate and former nursetaught himself the computer.The internet company he began with his mother's moneyran adult porn, but struggled until it offered accessto child porn.He became an overnight millionaire.

    • 02:53

      NARRATOR [continued]: His child abuse sites swamped with a quarterof a million customers usually paying $30 a fix.He was the net's first master trader of kiddie porn,but has now joined another select club.That of criminals sentenced to more than 1,000 years in jail.We have the inside account of the affairthe brought him down, including access to his own diaries

    • 03:16

      NARRATOR [continued]: and letters.It's a cautionary tale for any computer ownerwho's ever been tempted by the dark side of the web.The man at the center of this web is played in this filmby an actor.

    • 03:49

      NARRATOR [continued]: Thomas Reedy chose the wrong placeto set up in business-- the Twin citiesof Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas.The Lone Star State long ago developedtough anti-pornography laws, laws rigorouslyupheld by child crime investigators.So serious were Thomas Reedy's crimesthat he would be investigated by three law enforcement

    • 04:10

      NARRATOR [continued]: agencies at the same time.First assistant DA Terri Moore hasprosecuted some of the nastiest crimes in Texas.The high profile Reedy affair would become her last big casebefore running for the office of District Attorney,although she needs little incentive anyway.

    • 04:30

      TERRI MOORE: This is not just somebody innocently lookingat a picture.Somebody is in that picture.Somebody is being harmed in that picture.Children are being raped.There's a horrible crime going on.And so, as a prosecutor, I'm looking at that.And of course I want to get Thomas Reedy.

    • 04:49

      BILL WALSH: OK good.OK.OK, thanks, Lori.

    • 04:54

      NARRATOR: One of the most experienced teamsof pedophile investigators in the USis led by Lieutenant Bill Walsh.Dallas Cop of the Year in 1990, he'sbeen looking up sex offenders throughout his career.

    • 05:06

      BILL WALSH: One of things I think we are doingis vigorously enforcing the child pornographyand sexual exploitation laws that are on the books.Putting people on notice that if they do this,we're going to be looking for them.And if we catch them, we're goingto vigorously prosecute them.But they called the house the other day.Got the answering machine.And it sounded like they had a kid's voice on the answeringmachine.So he may have children there.

    • 05:27

      BILL WALSH [continued]: So we'll do the best we can not to disturb them.But if there are kids there when we get back,then you can take it upon yourselfto call CPS and let them know.

    • 05:39

      NARRATOR: Ex-Marine Mike Mead worksfor the country's veteran detective agency, the US PostalInspection Service.It's the third law enforcement bodyto help crack the media investigation.

    • 05:57

      MIKE MEAD: They definitely deliveredon exactly what they advertised-- hardcore childpornography.Children ages from babies on up.

    • 06:31

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: Well, we're one of the oldest federal law enforcementagencies that's worked proactive in child pornography.And in the old days, it was a small intimate groupof people that would communicate through the mail.Trade videos, pictures.If we could get involved in the group,we would contact them through the mail.

    • 06:51

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: Writing letters, responding that way.Nowadays on the internet, you're emailing,communicating with someone. [Mike Mead, US PostalInspection Service] You have no idea wherethey are physically located.So you have to use different tools to start out withto physically locate them.

    • 07:22

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: Well, in April 1999, one of our postal inspectorsin St. Paul, Minnesota, received a call from a customerand alerted him of this one site thatwas hosting child pornography.

    • 07:37

      NARRATOR: Dallas Police Departmentwas the next to be involved.Law enforcement agencies had beenasked to collaborate-- by the US Government--to defeat internet crimes against children.The Reedy case one of the first big tests of this initiative.

    • 07:51

      STEVE NELSON: But when I got the phone call, while I was stillon the phone, I went to the websitethat they were concerned about.And the very front page was hardcore child pornography.It kind of slaps you in the face,because up until that time, I've never

    • 08:12

      STEVE NELSON [continued]: seen anything so advertised blatantly rightat the front side of a website.I told the postal inspector, I said,you're not going to believe this.This is the worst I've seen.

    • 08:24

      BILL WALSH: We started looking into it.And I remember, to this day, Nelson looking at it.And was shocked. [Lieutenant Bill Walsh, Child Abuse Squad,Dallas Police Department] Even though he'san experienced detective, that they wereso blatant with the material.I mean hardcore child pornographyaccessible over the internet.So that was a shock.I think that was one of many shocks that we had.We started then using Detective Nelson's expertise,

    • 08:47

      BILL WALSH [continued]: actually downloading those websites.Purchasing them as a consumer.And building a record of what was out there.

    • 09:07

      STEVE NELSON: If I wanted to purchase this site,I could get it for 30 days if I would pay a certain amountof money for it.I decided to be a customer myselfin an undercover capacity.I went to a particular website that I initiallyreceived the call on.

    • 09:28

      STEVE NELSON [continued]: And I become a customer.And I found out that, sure enough, youhad to actually go to this company in Fort Worth, Texasto give my credit card information to,to get this particular site.After, I did probably 13-- I think about 13-- sites,the same process.I had to pay for each site.

    • 09:50

      STEVE NELSON [continued]: I had to actually go back to the company in Fort Worthto be verified.

    • 09:58

      MIKE MEAD: This is one of the first web pages we came to,which doesn't contain any images.But it was interesting because it advertised blatantlywhat was on the sites.It says, I warn you.You're about entering the most controversial site on the web.In the following pages, you will find adult explicit pictures,

    • 10:20

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: no legal content, pedophilias, all sick, all sex maniacs.Were frequently banned everywhere.So if you found us here, you're really a lucky one.God bless thee.Don't waste your time anymore.Click here to enter Lolita World.Lolita World we documented as a child porn site.

    • 10:43

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: And then another one, Lolita Hardcore,which is the same webmaster.Page of banner links to his sites.Effing Little Kids, and then the other sites that he advertised.Lolita World, Blackcat Lolita Photo Series,

    • 11:04

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: City of Innocent Lolita, The Age of Innocence.And those were all different websites whichwe confirmed had child porn.And then several links to hardcore galleries,that were images of children being abused.The Best Lolita Sites on the Net.Over 10,000 Lolita pics.

    • 11:25

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: New pics added weekly.

    • 11:28

      STEVE NELSON: When they first had their web page published,at the very bottom of the page was a big black bannerwith gold letters.It said, click here for child porn.And you clicked on it.And you went to that first site that Igot the call about from the Postal Inspection Service.

    • 11:49

      STEVE NELSON [continued]: And from there, you go on.One website that I started to recordtook eight hours going through the whole site.It got to be pretty tedious.Because some other sites had thousandsupon thousands of images.And I went through every one of themto basically gather evidence.

    • 12:08

      MIKE MEAD: Another service that Thomas offeredwas like a bulletin board.It was called the adult classifieds.Anyone could access it without paying.Post an ad.And we noticed all types of ads lookingfor pictures of children.

    • 12:29

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: I trade baby sex pics only, one-year-old.I have 985 pics of this to trade.Honest and ultra-pervert trader.

    • 12:39

      TERRI MOORE: To me, the classifieds were worse thanlooking at the images. [Terri Moore, Assistant US Attorney,North Texas.] Because even though it was just words,it was just like a newspaper where you go to help wantedor whatever.These were notes of people that wouldpost these notes of parents.Saying, I've got a 10-year-old boy

    • 13:01

      TERRI MOORE [continued]: and I would like to find a gentle manto train him to make love.And so, I was stunned.To think that there were parents out therethat would offer their children to some pedophile.

    • 13:22

      TERRI MOORE [continued]: I never knew that existed in the world.

    • 13:27

      NARRATOR: In all, Landslide generated 250,000 customers.But while many returned again and again, not all of themwere satisfied.One early complaint about Landslide went to the FBI.But it would not be an easy task to pin down Thomas Reedy.

    • 13:46

      TERRI MOORE: I'll just give you a little hintinto his personality.His name that he used for his email was Houdini.OK?So this is a guy who thinks he isso slick that he can get out of any tight space,just like Houdini.He cleverly manipulated some of his employeesthat worked for him by telling them that they were actually

    • 14:08

      TERRI MOORE [continued]: aiding law enforcement.That prevented them from quitting their jobwhen they realized what kind of place they were working for.And he was able to do that by using a very young FBIagent-- that was brand new on the job-- named Frank Super.Frank Super had just begun with the FBI, was green as a gourd,

    • 14:32

      TERRI MOORE [continued]: you might say.

    • 14:33

      JOE ULLMAN: There was only a few peoplein the company that actually knew exactly what was going on.[Joe Ullman, FBI Special Agent] Whether hetalked to that person or not, I don't know.I don't think so.I don't think he ever met Thomas Reedy in person.

    • 14:46

      INTERVIEWER: No, he didn't.He talked to him on the phone.

    • 14:48

      JOE ULLMAN: Right.

    • 14:49

      INTERVIEWER: I mean, Mr. Reedy actually used that episodeto quite good effect.Because when he started getting complaints from people,he used to say that he was already in touch with the FBI.

    • 14:57

      JOE ULLMAN: Sure.

    • 14:58

      INTERVIEWER: And Mr. Super had left his card.

    • 14:60

      JOE ULLMAN: Right.Which is not uncommon.We leave our cards just about with everybody we talk to.

    • 15:04

      TERRI MOORE: Here we go.Houdini.OK?A way to get out of things.He would show Frank Super's business card to his employees.And say, oh, look, don't worry.We're helping law enforcement.

    • 15:17

      INTERVIEWER: And it gave Thomas enough ammunitionto wriggle out of some of the later inquiries.

    • 15:22

      JOE ULLMAN: Probably so.

    • 15:24

      INTERVIEWER: Do you think that was a good--

    • 15:26

      JOE ULLMAN: Well, you know, if Thomas is goingto try to play that card, fine.Let him play it.It didn't work.

    • 15:32

      TERRI MOORE: It was a tremendous mistake.It was a mistake that allowed Thomas Reedy to operatefor quite a long time, making a lot of money.But Frank has since learned his lesson.

    • 15:52

      MIKE MEAD: OK, this is downtown Fort Worth.And this is where the Landslide business first started.The building over here that they're knocking downwas their first location.They rented one suite here that they had their server.And Thomas, that's where he worked when he first

    • 16:13

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: started the company.And the ISP was in this building.As he company started to enlarge,they left their server here.

    • 16:34

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: But they moved over across the street,second floor of the building there on the corner.They rented three or four offices therewhere they set up their remote computers.They had three or four customer service representatives therethat answered the phone.

    • 16:50

      NARRATOR: For this film, Mike Meadto agree to return to the locationswhere he worked as an undercover postman.

    • 16:56

      MIKE MEAD: I spent a lot of time on surveillanceon both buildings.The building across the street, the employees parked behind it.So we were able to obtain their driver's license informationoff their vehicle tags.That told us how many employees were there on a daily basis,which ones they were, do backgrounds on the employee.Get an idea of who they are and where they're from.

    • 17:20

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: One of the things I did when I was a carrier,I carried a digital camera with meto take photos for layout of the interior of the building.Just to be able to show the other agentshow it was laid out, where the hallways were.They had a small break room in the backthat I'd stop and sit down and have a soda.I could look out the windows and see

    • 17:42

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: where it was located in the building,how many access points there were.

    • 17:47

      NARRATOR: The surveillance operation lasted five months.Investigators could only look on as Landslide's child porntakings took off.By the end, the once tiny businesswould be generating 1 million pounds a month.The company took on many new staffand moved to bigger offices on the outskirts of Fort Worth.

    • 18:32

      NARRATOR [continued]: Thomas Reedy often worked from home,but investigators eventually filmed himoutside his business address.

    • 18:45

      MIKE MEAD: We're located 1124 Seaman Street.That was his business address.And it's at the intersection of Belknap and Beach Street,which is on the eastern edge of Fort Worth.Due east of downtown Fort Worth.We placed their approximate opening time around 9:00 AM.And their employee base had increased dramatically

    • 19:07

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: from their downtown location.Out here, they had over 12, 13 employees, where downtownthey were using 3, 4 employees.So the business was expanding dramaticallyin a very short amount of time.We weren't sure what the other employees were doing.But there was quite a few here every day.

    • 19:28

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: There was 8, 10 cars that arrived and spent the day here.

    • 20:06

      NARRATOR: Thomas Reedy may have briefly wonderedwhy his photo was being taken.But the major distraction in his lifewere the vast profits his business was now accruing.

    • 20:18

      MIKE MEAD: Well, from talking to peoplethat knew him in high school, he was just--I believe he was in the band.He was a nurse prior to starting his business.He was a little unusual, but shy.Withdrawn.No real strange characteristics in his background.

    • 20:42

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: He just seemed to get involved in the internet.He didn't have any real formal training in computers.He used some money from his motherto get the business going.His mother subsequently passed away.

    • 20:57

      NARRATOR: Thomas Reedy's bright idea was to sell porn,but only to adults.He devised a so-called adult verification service,AVS for short.All this meant was paying for the porn with a credit card.The AVS hat went wherever Thomas Reedy went.But once he started running kiddie porn,AVS would prove a red herring.Nobody, whatever age, was allowed

    • 21:18

      NARRATOR [continued]: to purchase kiddie porn.And those that did left an indelible credit card record.

    • 21:24

      MIKE MEAD: But then, as he developed this system,he married Janice, who was his wife at the time whenwe conducted this search.But prior to that, she was an employee.

    • 21:38

      NARRATOR: Although Janice Reedy claimedto play only a minor role in the company,she knew what was going on and would haveto take her share of the blame.Actors represent the events that were soon to unfold,although some of the law enforcement officialswill play themselves.

    • 22:07

      MIKE MEAD: When he first started the business,it was predominantly adult-orientedand the child pornography came later.

    • 22:15

      TAMMY THORNHILL: When it was an adult pornography business,it was struggling to the point wherethey were even bouncing checks.They were struggling.They didn't get profitable until they got into the childpornography business.

    • 22:31

      MIKE MEAD: And through our investigation,we determined that Landslide did not host the sites,did not possess the content.But they were a gateway.So customers out here that was looking for child pornographywould find websites over here that

    • 22:52

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: contained child pornography.

    • 22:54

      TAMMY THORNHILL: And the first website-- child pornographywebsite-- was Lolita Land.And that brought in-- beginning amount-- was $2,000.

    • 23:03

      MIKE MEAD: And in Landslide, you paid your money,provided your name, email address.That type information that was verified by Landslidethrough a credit card processing company.Then you would have access to the child pornography sites.The only way to get to these sites was through Landslide.

    • 23:27

      MIKE MEAD [continued]: They were the portal.

    • 23:30

      TAMMY THORNHILL: Whenever we analyzed the business records,we determined in April of 1999 that one website-- ChildRape-- had generated 1,200 sign-ups alone.Versus one adult sign-up in that month.So basically, there was one sign upof adult pornography versus 1,200 sign-ups

    • 23:52

      TAMMY THORNHILL [continued]: of child pornography.And that was the Jakarta, Indonesian website Child Rapethat I'm specifically referring to.The relationship was eventually expandedto 30 different websites.Child Rape brought in $17,000.Child God brought in $22,000. $1,000 Child Play

    • 24:12

      TAMMY THORNHILL [continued]: brought in $5,000.Triple X Lolita brought in $30,000.Russian Pre-Teen brought in $3,000.And that was some examples of the different websites.

    • 25:05

      TAMMY THORNHILL [continued]: His lifestyle dramatically improved.He was able to write a personal check for two Mercedez-Benz.$148,000 was the amount of the checkthat he wrote out to the dealershipoff the Landslide account.He joined a country club.He was able to cut checks to family members,struggling family members.He paid his father and his brother profits.

    • 25:28

      TAMMY THORNHILL [continued]: He was also very generous to his wife-- who also workedat the business-- and himself.They moved into a very nice house in Fort Worth, Texas.

    • 25:49

      SUSIE BOESE: It's 2 and 1/2 acres.And it's like a rectangle shape.It goes all the way down.The other side of the house-- and that'stheir driveway-- you can see the little awning where youcan come in, where they park.This is the back of the house.The pool's over here.And it's a beautiful pool.They laid it out with rocks.

    • 26:09

      SUSIE BOESE [continued]: They made it really prettyThey had a lot of cars over there.They would have Rolls-Royces.Cars I don't even know the names of.There was a Lamborghini one time.And they usually had about 9 or 10 when they had a party.And they'd have it at their pool.

    • 26:40

      SUSIE BOESE [continued]: Maybe every other weekend in the summer.And the only reason we knew was because the music was loud.And the wind comes out of the north, so it blows right at us.

    • 26:52

      TAMMY THORNHILL: The total sales of Landslide Incorporatedwas $9.2 million while the business was running.A gross profit of $2.9 million dollars,which we know 85% of the profit was a direct resultof child pornography.

    • 27:14

      NARRATOR: Thomas Reedy's blatant marketing of child pornhad spawned a booming business.But the bold approach would prove its downfall.The website was so easy to access,it left it wide open to investigation.It would only take one complaint to be followed up for Landslideto come crashing down.

    • 27:42

      DETRACTOR: Dear Houdini, I think these sites are grotesque.And if they are not removed, I will notify KSFO radio station.In addition, I'm going to notify the FBI.Dear Houdini, I will be forced to hand this matter overto the local DA's office.And won't he be so interested in the numerous kiddie pornsites you offer.

    • 28:04

      NARRATOR: Despite the FBI'S earlier failureto rumble Thomas Reedy, the agencywas now working with postal inspectors and Dallas policeto raid the business and turn off the computers for good.Unbeknown to Thomas and Janice Reedy,the surveillance operation was nearing completion.

    • 28:20

      MIKE MEAD: From doing surveillance,we found out that a lot of the employees smoked.And they would come out at different times of the dayand several would stand around by the corner of the buildingand smoke.And Janice was one of those individualswho we had identified would come out with the crowd.

    • 28:38

      JOE ULLMAN: So once there was about 10 of them outside,we went ahead and hit it.It's not a dynamic entry by any means.It's pretty much, hey, we're here.This is why.We're going to go inside.And when we did, our main concernthen was getting anybody who was on a computer off the computer.

    • 28:59

      MIKE MEAD: The main thing is to get them away from the systemsand not be able to run a program that would delete everythingor crash the system.Or cause damage to the digital information.

    • 29:11

      STEVE NELSON: I was right in the big middle of it.We had our unit, the task force.We had the FBI, US Postal Inspection Service,Tarrant County Sheriff's Office, Customs.We also used civilian technical type people,

    • 29:33

      STEVE NELSON [continued]: that were written into our search warrantto allow them to come with us.

    • 29:45

      MIKE MEAD: Well, Thomas was at home.We had a team that went to the homeand they knocked on the door.Thomas was there.They told him why they were there.Provided him a copy of the search warrant.And also informed him that we were conducting a searchat same time at the business.

    • 30:08

      STEVE NELSON: Mr. Reedy.We're postal inspectors.We have a warrant to search your house.

    • 30:13

      THOMAS REEDY: OK.

    • 30:14

      STEVE NELSON: Is anyone in the house besides you?

    • 30:16

      THOMAS REEDY: No.

    • 30:16

      STEVE NELSON: You're by yourself?

    • 30:18

      MIKE MEAD: Federal search warrant.He never really got upset.He was very businesslike, very cordial.Very friendly, in fact.He was very helpful to everyone that was there.He assisted, answered the questionsthat they posed to him.

    • 30:35

      TAMMY THORNHILL: Where do you keep your computers at?

    • 30:46

      STEVE NELSON: One of my questions to himwas, well, I've done a lot of investigatingbefore we were here today.And I found out that probably 85%of the sites that you verify for are child pornography.He said, oh, no.I don't think it's that high.I think it's only 30%.So the first interview is his, basically, giving knowledge

    • 31:11

      STEVE NELSON [continued]: that he knew what was going on.And that was used in the federal trial.

    • 31:17

      NARRATOR: Reedy's bank accounts were frozen,his computers removed.But he was soon back online with adult porn.He believed his customers would want to read his online diary.Not many did, but we have.He believed they would even pay to read it, and sohelp his legal battle.He traces his life over the next six months,depicting an increasingly perplexed and paranoid

    • 31:39

      NARRATOR [continued]: individual.It's the diary of a man convinced of his innocence, whoapparently has no conception of the deep trouble he is now in.

    • 31:48

      THOMAS REEDY: September 8, 1999.FBI, US Customs, Secret Service, US Postal Agents--as well as the Dallas web task force--raided our building in my home.Over 50 agents-- more than was at the initial Waco raid--were in attendance, seizing documents, business records,and three of our main computers.Also seized were two of my personal home computers

    • 32:10

      THOMAS REEDY [continued]: in which I conducted Landslide Inc. Business and emailtransmissions.As well as seizure of over $1 million receivableswaiting for processing.

    • 32:20

      INTERVIEWER: How did you realize he was writing a diary?It's a pretty unusual thing to find.

    • 32:25

      STEVE NELSON: Well, basically he advertised that he was.That I was going to give-- I'll give you updates.I just need some help.And he called it The Reedys Defense Fund.So I bought into the site.And I paid whatever it was, $25.And I could follow his stories-- daily,

    • 32:46

      STEVE NELSON [continued]: usually-- of what he was thinking, what he found out.People could write in and post thingsto his logs and whatever.So I just kept up with it just to have the federal governmentknow what was going on, what he was trying to do.

    • 33:04

      THOMAS REEDY: October 27, 1999.I could quote legal rulings, laws, etc.that show our strong case.But I know they, too, have bought a membershipto read this commentary.So I won't just yet.

    • 33:16

      INTERVIEWER: And did you read the line where he said,I know the police are reading this computer-- this diary?

    • 33:22

      STEVE NELSON: Oh, yeah.

    • 33:23

      INTERVIEWER: What happened when you read that?

    • 33:25

      STEVE NELSON: I laughed to myself.

    • 33:28

      THOMAS REEDY: October 1, 1999.Most of our network has been hacked and abused by the raid.Found many files in the router tampered with,causing much delay in renewing internet access.Some of the remaining computers' motherboardsare fried as a result of their technicians.October 8, 1999.

    • 33:49

      THOMAS REEDY [continued]: Someone driving around at the back of my houseon my property.They just got out of the car and walked around a minute,looking for God knows what.Got back in their car and left.We have now blocked access to that areato prevent further intrusion.

    • 34:05

      STEVE NELSON: That's another paranoid individualthat just saw ghosts everywhere he turned.And I guess it was pretty good, too,that he had to actually look over her shoulder for a while.That was good.But I never drove out there.Like I said, I was through with himas far as that particular investigation went.

    • 34:25

      STEVE NELSON [continued]: And there was no truth of anythingabout people going in his house, breaking in,getting his computers, putting stuff on his computersfor evidence.And I think he might have saw that on a TV show or something.

    • 34:41

      BILL WALSH: We were on site probablybetween 10 and 12 hours.Halfway through the evening, one of the professional programmersfrom Microsoft that was donating their servicescome across the database for the customers.And that shocked everybody.It was unbelievable.I mean, you could go up behind himand say, put in this zip code.

    • 35:02

      BILL WALSH [continued]: Or put in a street address.And he'd turn around and say, there's87 customers in that zip code.

    • 35:09

      INTERVIEWER: How many were there in your zip code?

    • 35:11

      BILL WALSH: I think there was, like, four.And even some of the postal inspectors.Everybody was saying, well what about mine?And I know there was one person said,I think I know that person.

    • 35:37

      BILL WALSH [continued]: A few days later, we had a sense that there was not onlytargets in the United States, therewere targets in the military.We had people who had military addresses.We had people who had government addresses.And obviously, we could see by some of these addresseswe had people in foreign countries.And it was, like-- At that point,we realized that we had really opened up Pandora's box.

    • 36:05

      BYRON FASSET: This guy right here-- there'swhat, [Sgt Byron Fasset, Dallas Police Department]1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 entriesfor this person right here.So we just go over here to the far date.He did it on August 26.He did on August the 5th.August the 13th.And so, it looks like he did it twice 26th, twice on the 5th,

    • 36:29

      BYRON FASSET [continued]: and once on the 13th there.And once on the 19th.Sometimes it's every other day.Sometimes it's every single day.And they just keep going and going and going on.This problem crosses all social and economic lines.It crosses all professional lines.I mean, one of the biggest problems we have is societyhas this view of child molesters,

    • 36:53

      BYRON FASSET [continued]: child predators, and people who engagein conduct as this dirty old man in a trench coat.And although that's some of the people doingit, a lot of these people-- I mean,these are police officers.They're priests, they're ministers, they're bankers,they're military personnel.It crosses all the socioeconomic lines.If we look under this, just the military by itself-- Remember,Texas had what?5,000 or 7,000.

    • 37:15

      BYRON FASSET [continued]: There are 583 records just in the military by itself.

    • 37:19

      BILL WALSH: Then we were, like, wow.What is this?What are we going to do with this?And the reality was, we were stumbling in the beginning.All right, we had this list.Now what do you do with it?

    • 37:29

      NARRATOR: Walsh and his team would divide the listinto different police areas around the US.For the last four years, operations like thishave become routine for American police departments.

    • 37:43

      BILL WALSH: We're going out to execute a search warranton an individual that appears to be a pretty prolific customerof child pornography.We have a software program that allowsus to conduct an on-site search of the computer.And our policy has been, to date,that if we find child pornography in the preview,

    • 38:05

      BILL WALSH [continued]: we'll arrest the individual.Bring him downtown, take their computer,and submit it for a complete forensic examination.In my career, we've had about 20 individualscommit suicide who have been investigated for various sexcrimes against children.So the potential for violence is always there.These people feel that we're responsible for their troubles.

    • 38:37

      NARRATOR: The police are able to launch investigationslike this because of the extensive intelligence theyhave gained through the Reedy affair.

    • 38:44

      BILL WALSH: The fences are all the way around.

    • 38:45

      NARRATOR: Although the target of this dawn raidis not a Reedy customer.

    • 38:56

      BILL WALSH: We're doing an investigation with the FBIon a person in Russia that was basically allowing people,virtually across the world, to access certain illegal internetsites.People were using their credit cards.

    • 39:18

      BILL WALSH [continued]: What're we going to go over there and dois, we have a search warrant.And it has to do with your computer.Is there anything on your computerthat needs to be brought to my attentionnow before we start looking at it?

    • 39:33

      PERSON OF INTEREST: Yeah.But there was no pornographic to it.It was just visual.

    • 39:39

      BILL WALSH: What, you call it art?

    • 39:40

      PERSON OF INTEREST: Yes, sir.

    • 39:42

      BILL WALSH: This art, how young were the children in this art?

    • 39:47

      PERSON OF INTEREST: Younger than I desire.

    • 39:49

      BILL WALSH: OK.Because your cooperation right now determines-- later on downthe line-- what happens.OK?

    • 39:56

      MAN: Oh, wow.

    • 39:56

      WOMAN: Vice handles underage kids at bars, right?Working?

    • 40:02

      NARRATOR: In all, 35,000 people in the USpaid to use Reedy's site.But only several hundred so far have been punished.Far fewer than have been investigated in England.Unlike the UK, where just visiting the site is a crime,police in America have been told to get follow-up evidence.

    • 40:25

      NARRATOR [continued]: This has often meant police mountingcomplex undercover operations in which Reedy's former customersare tempted by a pretend child porn website.

    • 40:34

      WOMAN: So what is that?I don't get it.[INAUDIBLE]

    • 40:41

      NEWS ANCHOR: To date, Operation Avalanchehas netted approximately 150 arrests nationwide.11 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.One of those arrested in the operation, this man,[INAUDIBLE] Siegel.

    • 40:53

      BILL WALSH: So what we did is we took a list of known criminals,if you will.And we gave them an opportunity to violatethe law a second time.

    • 41:07

      NARRATOR: One spoof email from the policereads, I was just contacted by the website.And they gave me both of your requests lookingfor a 14-year-old Latina girl for hot sexand Greek fun in the Dallas area.I feel confident I should be able to meet your needs.Siegel replied.

    • 41:28

      SIEGEL: Great.With regards to my preferences, some English speakingwould be preferable.With a nice face.The time frame is one and a half hours.During this time, I'm seeking relief two to three times.

    • 41:39

      BILL WALSH: He actually wanted to putan order in for us to provide him with childrenhe could have sex with.Dear Customer, I want to come out and tell youup front that I am not associated with any kind of lawenforcement.I need the same assurances from you.

    • 41:55

      SIEGEL: Dear Sir, I'm also not associatedwith any kind of law enforcement agency.Also, I'm all for protection and lubrication.

    • 42:05

      NARRATOR: After many bogus police emails,the airline executive agrees to the deal.Undercover Officer Steve Nelson is in a hotel roompretending to be a pimp.The underage girls don't exist but are meant to be in the roomnext door.

    • 42:19

      STEVE NELSON: We have business, man.

    • 42:22

      SIEGEL: I have your money.OK, 100.150.I'm not fixated on a certain age or a certain nationality

    • 42:45

      SIEGEL [continued]: or ethnic background.I'm all flexible.

    • 42:49

      STEVE NELSON: She's right next door.You want to go see her?

    • 42:51

      SIEGEL: Makes sense.

    • 42:52

      STEVE NELSON: Looks good.To me.

    • 42:53

      SIEGEL: Good.And then we're going to meet you, like, 7:00-ish.

    • 42:55

      STEVE NELSON: 7:00-ish, 7:30.Whatever you want to do.Yolanda, I'm here.Yolanda?

    • 43:18

      STEVE NELSON [continued]: Police, get on the wall!Get on the wall!Get on the wall![INAUDIBLE]That girl told her friend.She called us this afternoon.

    • 43:34

      NARRATOR: [INAUDIBLE] Siegel was taken to court, found guilty,and sentenced to 10 years.The undercover sting had worked.But he didn't go to jail.He was deported to his native Germany instead.

    • 43:56

      INTERVIEWER: How concerned were youthat you might be provoking peopleinto doing crimes that they otherwisewouldn't have committed?

    • 44:03

      BILL WALSH: We never would do anythingthat would entrap somebody, commit a crime theydidn't want to commit.These people had already pretty much establishedwhat their intent was.And even in our conversations, wewere very careful for them to make the first overtures.And I think you'd see that those cases stand upunder scrutiny in court.That the way people like Detective Nelson and some

    • 44:24

      BILL WALSH [continued]: of his partners did, they didn't do anythingthat the courts had any problems with.

    • 44:29

      NARRATOR: British police have met fewer hurdlesin following up UK suspects.But because they plan to raid each and every suspect,the impact of Reedy's crimes will be very different here.

    • 44:40

      CAROLE HOWLETT: It's a big operationit's the biggest operation that we undertaken in the UK so far.

    • 44:46

      JOHN CARR: It was based on a list of 7,200 namesgiven to the British police by the United States PostalInspection Service. [John Carr, Internet Watch Foundation]Never before had such a large amount of intelligenceabout crime landed on a policeman'sdesk in a single day.

    • 45:03

      CAROLE HOWLETT: It's the number of imageswhich is creating such a challenge.[Carole Howlett, Association of Chief Police Officers]Hundreds of thousands of images.In one particular case, 200 CD-romsseized from one individual.10,000 images on just one of those roms.

    • 45:19

      JOHN CARR: The police themselves, I think,will acknowledge that they were caught on the hop.They weren't geared up.They didn't have the right level of resourcesor they didn't have the right number of personnel in place--or procedures in place-- to be able to handle it.I have to say they have since caught up very admirably.

    • 45:36

      NARRATOR: More than 2000 English suspectshave so far been questioned for accessing the Landslidewebsite.None of them are in quite so much trouble as Mr. Reedy.His life in the fast lane was about to cometo an abrupt halt, courtesy of one of Texas's starprosecutors.

    • 45:51

      TERRI MOORE: I'm Terri Moore.Tim Curry hasn't been in a courtroom since 1977.As a prosecutor, I've tried over 100 jury trials.And I've never lost a murder case.When I'm DA, I'll spend my time in the courtroom.And my door will always be open to victims of crime.When you mention this case to me, several of those imagespop up in my mind.

    • 46:12

      TERRI MOORE [continued]: And I wish they didn't.I wish I could find a way to just get rid of them.The one image that pops up in my mind,that I just can't get rid of, is a photograph of a little girl.And she was lying on a bed with a choke collar.Like a dog collar around her neck.It had spikes and everything on it.And she was just crying her little eyes out.

    • 46:40

      THOMAS REEDY: October 12, 1999.The main thought running through my headis that I will finally be able to defend my company,as we have done nothing wrong.But it is a scary thing to face.I have learned a lot of valuable lessons.And that just makes me stronger.

    • 46:56

      TERRI MOORE: He sat down at the head of the table.And it was as if he was in charge.That he was very impressed with himself.He was very arrogant.He was condescending to us.He basically told us that he's quite surprised

    • 47:16

      TERRI MOORE [continued]: that we were accusing him of doing anything wrong.That we should be there to pat him on the backand thank him for a job well done.

    • 47:30

      THOMAS REEDY: Terri Moore states to our attorneysthat, yes, there will be indictments.And there will be no plea bargaining.I wouldn't plea bargain with them, anyway.As I see it, we've done nothing wrongand have great defenses against her allegations.

    • 48:11

      TERRI MOORE: We were afraid that peoplewould read about the case in the newspaperand come down-- because it's a very interesting case--and be in the courtroom watching.And actually see child pornography.And we didn't want that to happen.So we sat it up so that we had a big screen right over here

    • 48:34

      TERRI MOORE [continued]: in the audience that faced the jury box.So that the people in the courtroom could not see what wewere displaying on the screen, but it was right therefor the jury and for the judge and for the Reedy's.Because they obviously have a right to see whatwe're showing.

    • 48:54

      WES BALL: We knew what we were up against.We felt like we had done everythingwe could to present the type of defensethat we thought had a chance of working.We knew we would be looking at very disgusting images.[Wes Ball, Thomas Reedy's Attorney]It wasn't an effort to say, you'regoing to like Mr. Reedy so much, you'regoing to want to take him home for supper.That wasn't an accomplishable goal.

    • 49:16

      WES BALL [continued]: You may think he's just a seedy individual.That's fine.But is he guilty of violating United States federal lawbecause of his role in this?Yes or no.

    • 49:39

      WES BALL [continued]: Reedy falsely claimed that his images were computer generatedand did not feature real children.This defense was disproven when a UK undercover detectivecalled Sharon Girling gave evidence.What she said in court proved decisive.

    • 49:60

      TERRI MOORE: Indeed, she knew someof the children that were being depicted on one of these sites.They call it the Helen series.It is very disturbing to me to knowthat this little girl-- at the time this happened to her--will grow up to be a woman one day.And these images will still be floating around thereon the internet.

    • 50:21

      TERRI MOORE [continued]: But Sharon Girling responded to us.And said, yes, she had identifiedseveral of these children.In fact, she had gotten the father prosecuted.Because it was the father that was sexuallyabusing the children in the images.And he went to prison there, in your country.And so, it was important to us to bring Sharon Girling here

    • 50:44

      TERRI MOORE [continued]: to testify in front of the jury.

    • 50:47

      NARRATOR: Thomas Reedy was convincedhe could prove he was not responsible for publishingthe images, even though they were accessed through his site.

    • 50:55

      WES BALL: Whoever was purveying the child porn,click here banner was sending thatto the blank spot in Mr. Reedy's web page.And if you clicked on Mr. Reedy's web pagetwo minutes later, it could be pulling in a different banner.So if you captured it one moment, it's on there.Another, it's not.That banner exchange program was automated.

    • 51:18

      WES BALL [continued]: So in truth and in fact, Mr. Reedydid not put, for child porn, click here on his page.

    • 51:25

      NARRATOR: In a bizarre twist to the case,Thomas Reedy enlisted the help of this Manchester-based basetranssexual webmaster who would run images through Landslide.

    • 51:34

      WES BALL: We found a transsexual who ran a website, Miss Day.Travels under a British passport as a female, butwas born as a male.But has had surgery to change his or her gender.Because there was a reluctance of any US-basedwebmasters to come forward and testifyagainst the government's position.

    • 51:56

      CATRINA DAY: Wes Ball said that the juriesliked colorful characters.And I think me as a transsexual, theythought I was a colorful character.So I think they were imagining seeing someonelike RuPaul or Lily Savage.But what came out was a quite ordinary-looking person.

    • 52:20

      CATRINA DAY [continued]: He basically asked me about the uploading and the downloadingof software.And how it could be done without the Reedys' knowledge.

    • 52:32

      INTERVIEWER: And how did the transsexual from Englandgo down with the jury?

    • 52:37

      WES BALL: I think their eyes were wide as saucers, probably.I think they were intrigued.

    • 52:45

      TERRI MOORE: He claimed he was justlike a ticket-taker at a movie house,where you go buy a ticket from the person thatsells you the ticket.And then you go in and watch movies.That he doesn't have any knowledgeabout what is on at the movie, how the movie was produced.Any of that stuff.He was merely the ticket-taker.

    • 53:07

      TERRI MOORE [continued]: And I told him in the interview in our office,when he made that argument-- as well as in this very courtroomwhen his attorney made that argument-- that he was notlike a ticket-taker at a movie house.That he was more like the Madam of the whorehouse.

    • 53:24

      NARRATOR: In the end, the most damaging evidencecame from Thomas's own Houdini email.It outlined a new company policy in September 1998.If a site has preteen images, it must have the disclaimerby the entry banner.It is illegal for US residents to enter this site.It showed Reedy had seen what was on his site all along.

    • 53:47

      WES BALL: I think judgment leaves the building sometimes.It's, like, somebody has got to pay for this.And, OK, well, these two folks sitting right herelook like good candidates to me.

    • 53:59

      NARRATOR: The jury found Thomas Reedy and his wifeguilty on all 89 counts.Janice got 14 years, but Thomas wasabout to head into judicial oblivion.1,335 years meant the world's second longestcriminal sentence.From prison, he wrote to us, still protesting his innocence.

    • 54:20

      THOMAS REEDY: I found myself in federal prison, sentencedto 1,335 years for a crime I did not commit.To my eyes, the facts are crystal clear.And believe me, I have been over them 1,000 times.Each night, I lay in my cell, unable to sleep.Forced to replay each minute of testimony in my head.

    • 54:41

      THOMAS REEDY [continued]: Watching as if it's a movie on a tape.Seeing the facts that prove my innocence.Neither of us have ever been in trouble.Never spent a night in jail.

    • 54:54

      TERRI MOORE: As a federal prosecutor,I practically lived in the courtroom.Last year, I tried the biggest child pornography casein history and sent the smut-peddler away for life.

    • 55:04

      INTERVIEWER: You said that you put that smut-peddler awayfor life.

    • 55:07

      TERRI MOORE: Yeah.That's right.And I'm proud of it.But you know what?I wasn't campaigning.I would voluntarily do this case again, free.You wouldn't even have to pay me a salary.That's how much enjoyment I got outof putting a very bad person away.Thomas Reedy will never make another penny off

    • 55:28

      TERRI MOORE [continued]: of the misery of children.He is exactly where he deserves to be.

    • 55:33

      WES BALL: If you sentence someone to 50 years, 100 years,400 years.I mean, at some point, it has no meaning.They don't get out.So maybe it has some sort of appeasementto folks that think, hang them all.

    • 55:50

      TERRI MOORE: No, it's not at all ridiculous.Because he was making a tremendousprofit off of the misery of children.You see, he was feeding.He was feeding these perverts.He was feeding a beast, OK?Granted, he wasn't hurting them himself.He was not in the photo committing the rape.

    • 56:11

      TERRI MOORE [continued]: And he was not developing the photo.But yet, he was feeding that.And these people view this.They are excited by it.They are stimulated.Their appetite is whetted.And then, they go out and they act on it.So in my mind, he just facilitatedthe rape of a child.And so, he should have a very harsh sentence.

    • 56:36

      NARRATOR: There are still nearly 4,000 peopleto be questioned in this country.Their credit card details may betray their secrets.Four years on, they will all haveto explain why they bought Landslide's child porn.

    • 56:50

      CAROLE HOWLETT: The intention of all forces across the country--and the will is really there-- they will graduallywork through that list.And deal with all those individualswho they can be confident they have addresses for.

    • 57:01

      INTERVIEWER: So anybody who was fishing aroundin Landslide's site--

    • 57:04

      CAROLE HOWLETT: Will get a knock on the door.

    • 57:06

      INTERVIEWER: They are going to get a knock on the door.

    • 57:08

      CAROLE HOWLETT: There is absolutelyno doubt about that in my mind.And that's a strong message I want to send out here.There is no hiding place here.If you are engaged in that particular website,then you will be getting a knock on the door from a lawenforcement agency.

    • 57:22

      JOHN CARR: And we're now receivingbetween 80 and 85 new reports per weekof pay-per-view websites.Nearly all of them housed-- has to besaid-- in Eastern Europe, Russia or in the Ukraine.And in different countries in southeast Asia.But this is an astonishing growth.And I am absolutely certain that one of the reasons why we'reseeing this growth in these pay-per-view websites

    • 57:43

      JOHN CARR [continued]: is precisely because following the Landslide case,criminals all over the world realized just how much moneythere was to be made in it.

    • 57:50

      TERRI MOORE: Well, I was never naive enoughto believe that by putting Thomas Reedy in prisonthat we would put an end to child pornography.It's kind of like drug dealing.OK?When you put a drug dealer in prison,another drug dealer is going to step up and take his place.Why?Because there's profit in it.

    • 58:14

      OFFICER: He bought a site called Sweet Lolitas.

    • 58:16

      BILL WALSH: Last night?

    • 58:17

      OFFICER: With another company that weare going to probably look at.

    • 58:22

      BILL WALSH: What does he do for a living?

    • 58:24

      OFFICER: He's a postal clerk now.

    • 58:29

      BILL WALSH: Wow.Interesting.I think some people are quick to pat themselveson the back for the largest internet case in the world.I got news for them.The next one will be the largest.

    • 58:50

      BILL WALSH [continued]: And then, the next one after that will be the largest.These people are not going away.

Operation Landslide - Crash of an Internet Porn King

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Abstract

Landslide Productions is at the center of the world’s biggest criminal investigation into child pornography and sexual abuse. This video discusses how police tracked down and gathered evidence against Thomas Reedy, founder of Landslide Productions. It describes his arrest, the seizure of his business, details of his court case, and the residual effect of information culled from his databases.

Operation Landslide - Crash of an Internet Porn King

Landslide Productions is at the center of the world’s biggest criminal investigation into child pornography and sexual abuse. This video discusses how police tracked down and gathered evidence against Thomas Reedy, founder of Landslide Productions. It describes his arrest, the seizure of his business, details of his court case, and the residual effect of information culled from his databases.

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