NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WRIC) — An Air Force officer stationed in Newport News was given 30 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to producing child pornography using 28 fake Snapchat profiles.
Elliott Velez, 38, was a non-commissioned officer stationed at the Langley-Eustis joint base in Hampton Roads and will now face a discharge from the Air Force that will strip him of military benefits.
He was arrested after Snap, Inc. — the owners of Snapchat — passed on nine tips to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that accounts linked to Velez were engaging in suspicious activity.
Both the Snapchat accounts maintained by Velez and three phones seized from his home in Newport News contained child pornography. In conversations with underage girls, Velez would instruct them to undress and engage in sexual activities, in some cases even instructing them to abuse other children.
According to prosecutors, forensic recovery of data from Velez’s devices showed that he had at least six victims, the youngest being just two years old.
“The snapshots of the conversations the defendant had with some of these young children is deplorable,” prosecutors wrote. “The things he said to them, the pictures he sent to them of his own penis, and the things he asked them to do, record and send to him are beyond appalling.”
During his sentencing hearings, Velez told the court he had an addictive personality centered on gambling and pornography, and that his habitual use of alcohol, Prozac and over-the-counter sleep medication contributed to his offenses.
Velez asked for leniency from the court due to his 20 years of service in the airforce, which included multiple deployments to the Middle East, claiming that he likely had PTSD but did not seek treatment because he feared that his career would end.
Ultimately, he asked for 15 years in prison. The prosecution took a much harsher view, asking for 35 years and 20 years of supervised release.
Ultimately, the court imposed a sentence of 30 years in prison, but added to that a lifetime of supervised release. That likely means that, once released from prison, Velez will remain on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life.