Greenbelt, Maryland – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Muhammad Luqman Rana, age 32, of City of Vaughan, Ontario, for the federal charges of production of child pornography and extortion by the threat to injure the reputation of another. The indictment was returned on December 11, 2019, and unsealed yesterday upon his extradition from Canada.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Chief Mark Saunders of the Toronto Police Services (Canada).
According to the 10-count indictment, from June 2014 to June 2016 Rana persuaded, induced, and coerced five minor victims, residing in Maryland, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Washington, and New York, to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography and extorted the victims by threatening to injure their reputation.
Rana is made his initial appearance in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore today before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Copperthite and is detained pending trial.
If convicted, Rana faces a minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison for the production of child pornography and up to two years of imprisonment for extortion by the threat to injure the reputation of another. The maximum statutory penalty for all of the charged conduct is 160 years in federal prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the “Resources” tab on the left of the page.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. commended the FBI and the Toronto Police Services for their work in the investigation. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with law enforcement partners in Canada to secure the arrest of Rana in Canada and his extradition to the United States. Mr. Barron and Mr. Polite thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph R. Baldwin and Jennifer Leonardo of the Justice Department’s Criminal Child Exploitation and Obscenity Unit, who are prosecuting the federal case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-childhood and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.