Thursday, January 29, 2015

Local FBI Employee Arrested for Child Pornography; Possession and Distribution

On January 13, 2015, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced the arrest of Michael J. Peluso, 44, of Toms River, NJ, for the Possession and Distribution of images of children under the age of 18 engaged in prohibited sexual acts.

According to documents released, Peluso has been identified as an employee of the US Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Investigation. Peluso is listed as a Civilian Analyst - MST; an undercover unit in the FBI under the Critical Incident Response Group. 

The Ocean County High Tech Crime Unit, with assistance from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, Toms River Police Department and the New Jersey State Police, executed a search warrant at 2149 South Street, Toms River, NJ.  

In December of 2014, a referral was received from the Glendale Heights Police Dept. in Illinois.  A detective at that agency was conducting a proactive investigation for child pornography distribution on the Internet when he discovered a client who was using software to mask their IP address to appear as though they were in Illinois.  

Upon further investigation, it was revealed that the subject was operating in Toms River.  

The case was then referred to the Ocean County Prosecutors’ Office HTCU as part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.  HTCU detectives continued the investigation which culminated in the search this morning.

A search of the computer evidence at the residence by the partnering agencies found Peluso to be possessing and sharing several hundred images of Child Pornography.  As a result of the search, Michael J. Peluso was arrested.  Charges for Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography were approved by Assistant Prosecutor Hillary Bryce.  

Bail was set at $75000 no 10% by Judge Francis R. Hodgson Jr.,J.S.C.

The media and the public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that these defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.


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