DOJ: Chico Man Used “Hidden Cellphone” & “Spy Cameras” to Surreptitiously Film a Child

Photo courtesy: Riverarvi

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Mark McLeod Wygant, 46, of Chico, pleaded guilty today to transportation of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, from early 2011 to early 2012, Wygant surreptitiously filmed a child on numerous occasions using a hidden cellphone and hidden “spy cameras” that he had purchased for that purpose. He then transported those videos and photos from a location in Butte County to South Lake Tahoe. Wygant has been in custody since his arrest on January 29, 2015.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the South Lake Tahoe Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew G. Morris is prosecuting the case.

Wygant is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. on March 3, 2017. Wygant faces a minimum of five years and a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

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. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.

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