A 31-year-old Twin Cities man portrayed himself as a girl on various social media outlets and in text messages to entice more than 500 girls to create and send him sexually explicit images and videos of themselves, according to federal prosecutors.
Yue Vang, of St. Paul, was charged Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis with four counts of producing child pornography in connection with a ruse he carried out from late 2015 to September 2020.
Vang is not in custody and is awaiting his first court appearance. His attorney, John Arechigo, declined to comment about the charges Wednesday, other than to say "we've been working with the U.S. Attorney's Office to address the allegations."
Vang was charged by what is known as an information, a process that signals a defendant's intention to plead guilty.
According to the charges:
Vang approached girls on Facebook, Instagram, Kik and other popular social media channels using fake profile names and at times the names of actual girls.
He then went on to persuade more than 500 girls in Minnesota, other states and beyond U.S. borders "to create images and videos of themselves to send to him … of them engaging in sexually explicit conduct," the charging document read.
Vang at times would extort additional sexually explicit images and videos from the girls by threatening to share what he had with his victims' friends, family members and others, according to the charges.
He allegedly told one victim, a 15-year-old girl, that he would send nude photos of her to "everyone," including classmates and parents and "ruin [her] like with these photos" if she didn't send him a video with specific sexually explicit conduct.
Law enforcement agencies are continuing to confirm the identity of other potential victims. The U.S. Attorney's Office asks anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Vang or has information about him in connection to this case to visit Justice.gov/usao-mn/child-sextortion-victim-information and share what they know.