BURLINGTON, VERMONT- The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that a federal grand jury returned a Third Superseding Indictment on September 15, 2020, which charged Sean Fiore, 36, of Burlington, Vermont, with murder for hire, conspiracy to kidnap and murder a person overseas, and five child pornography offenses. A second person was charged with Fiore in the Third Superseding Indictment, but the identifying information about that person is currently under seal by order of the court. Fiore will be arraigned on the indictment before U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy on a date to be scheduled in the future.
According to court records and proceedings, a search warrant was executed at Fiore’s residence on May 17, 2019, as part of a coordinated operation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force where multiple residences were searched for child pornography. Fiore was arrested on that date. On the day of his arrest, Fiore was about to graduate from the University of Vermont with a degree as a nurse practitioner. On May 20, 2019, Magistrate Judge Conroy ordered Fiore released on conditions. On May 24, 2019, the grand jury returned a single-count indictment against Fiore that charged him with possession of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B). On August 22, 2019, the grand jury returned a Superseding Indictment that added a single count of receipt of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2). On May 21, 2020, Magistrate Judge Conroy ordered Fiore detained pending trial after finding he violated the terms and conditions of his pretrial release. On August 13, 2020, the grand jury returned a Second Superseding Indictment, which added a single count of use of a facility of interstate and/or foreign commerce (cell phone and Internet) with the intent that a murder be committed for money (murder for hire), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1958(a).
Today, September 15, 2020, the grand jury returned a Third Superseding Indictment, which added four counts. The first, conspiracy to kidnap and murder an individual in another country, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 956, alleges that while Fiore was in Vermont, he requested that a person in another country (Codefendant #1) make a video for him that depicted the beating, torture, and killing of a kidnapped adult male. According to the grand jury, Fiore and Codefendant #1 communicated using email and social media regarding Fiore’s specifications for the video. Fiore sent approximately $4,000 to Codefendant #1 for the making of the video. On April 8, 2019, Fiore received a link from an email used by Codefendant #1 that accessed a video which depicted the torture and apparent killing of an adult male who was restrained and tied to a bed. The charged conduct in this count is related to the previously brought murder for hire count.
The Third Superseding Indictment also added three child pornography counts. Two counts charged that Fiore and Codefendant #1 produced and attempted to produce, and conspired to produce, a video file depicting a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251. The final count alleged that Fiore and Codefendant #1 received and attempted to receive, and aided and abetted the receipt, of video files that depicted a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(2), 2.
U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan emphasized that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. If convicted, Fiore’s sentence will be determined by the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines, the sentencing factors set forth at 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), and the impact, if any, of any mandatory minimum prison terms applicable to any count of conviction.
U.S. Attorney Nolan makes this announcement with Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbit of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Michael Shea, acting Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Boston. U.S. Attorney Nolan commended the efforts of the Homeland Security Investigations and the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and is grateful for the expertise contributed to the prosecution by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, DOJ Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, and DOJ Office of International Affairs.
Barbara A. Masterson, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont, and Mona Sahaf, Trial Attorney with the Department of Justice’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, are handling the prosecution of Fiore. Maryanne E. Kampmann of Stetler, Allen, Kampmann & Sussman, PLLC, represents Fiore.
U.S. Attorney Nolan noted that this prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.