Bail denied to alleged child pornography distributor

A Kaua’i man who allegedly used his personal computer to advertise, distribute and store digital child pornography files across the Internet has been denied bail by a federal judge.

Martin Finer, 58, of Wailua Homesteads, was indicted last week by a federal prosecutor.

The federal prosecutors are calling the case a bust of one of the most extensive child pornography distribution operations ever uncovered in Hawai’i.

Bail was denied to Finer on Monday morning on the grounds that he’s a danger to the community. He will remain in custody at the Federal Detention Center on O’ahu. Finer is scheduled to be tried at a jury trial on August 27.

Finer was indicted on three felony counts in a federal indictment returned June 27, said Hawai’i district U.S. Attorney Edward H. Kubo, Jr. Finer faces one count each of allegedly creating an advertisement that solicited child pornography; distributing related content; and possession of the pornography.

If convicted, Finer stands to face 10 to 20 years imprisonment for the advertisement charge; up to 15 years for distributing child pornography; up to five years for possessing child pornography; and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the charges.

“During April to May of this year, Mr. Martin Finer ran an Internet Web site which allowed people to upload and download computer files dealing with child pornography,” Kubo said.

Investigations allege that Finer used a file transfer protocol program to distribute the computer files, and that he advertised the files in an Internet chat room.

As a result of an undercover investigation, a search warrant was executed on Finer’s home in May. Investigators found about 58,900 still digital photo files and about 3,000 digital movie files stored on the hard drive of Finer’s home computer. Prosecutors said the files were not of Hawai’i children.

The undercover operation involved the U.S. Bureau of Customs, the Kauai Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the state attorney general’s office, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Tong.

All the computer files will be destroyed, though Finer’s computer will be returned if he is found not guilty, Tong said.

So far in 2002, six other people in Hawai’i have faced charges relating to Internet child pornography, Tong said. He said that the investigation of Finer and his subsequent indictment were not part of the FBI’s “Operation Candyman,” a national campaign to crack down on people exchanging child pornography using the Internet.

Finer also faces one charge in New York state related to the Internet child porn ad he allegedly produced. According to Tong, an undercover agent in New York was able to access Finer’s alleged home business from the Internet ad.

Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at kmanguchei@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 252).

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