The judge also ordered Finkbiner to be supervised by federal officials for the rest of his life following his release.
According to prosecutors, Finkbiner met most or all of his victims on a video chat website that offers users random, anonymous one-on-one chats with strangers. The site says it is not for use by children under age 13 or by teenagers younger than 18 who don’t have the permission from a parent or guardian.
Prosecutors said the teens thought they were looking at live images of people who were acting sexually and encouraging the teens to do the same, but the images were actually recordings Finkbiner was showing them. He would later contact the teens again and threaten to upload their explicit images to porn websites unless they made more videos for his private use, prosecutors said.
In one case cited in court records, a 12-year-old Michigan boy pleaded with Finkbiner not to upload explicit videos of him after he refused to do any more, but Finkbiner posted them on the Internet anyway.
Prosecutors said the case is an example of “sextortion,” a crime that authorities are seeing with greater frequency in which Internet predators catch victims in embarrassing situations online and threaten to expose them unless they create sexually explicit photos or videos.
Foster said the case showed how vital it is for parents to be aware of what their children do on the Internet.
“I think our kids are sometimes doing things on the Internet that we don’t know anything about, and it’s very important to be proactive about the sites that we’re vising and who they’re talking with,” she said.