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Tale of decryption

Federal investigators pursued a Florida man they suspected of sex crimes for three years. Officials said he used sophisticated encryption software and other programs to shield files from law enforcement.

However, efforts to crack open the encrypted files finally paid off, officials said. In a courtroom south of Orlando, the suspect recently pleaded not guilty to three charges: distributing, receiving and possessing child pornography. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison on each count.

Authorities say even the 45-year-old Broward County man's mother implicates him in crimes, saying she found child porn on a computer he gave her. She also reportedly "expressed concerns to law enforcement that her son may have traveled abroad to have sex with children."

Her son was described in a newspaper article as a computer expert who had been living in California's Silicon Valley before his arrest. He didn't fight extradition to Florida.

A federal judge has denied the man bail, saying the suspect is a risk to flee.

Back in 2012, investigators seized from him computer hard drives. They had been trying since to break through encrypted security measures preventing them from examining suspected child porn files. They said they cracked the encryption in July and found child pornography, including nearly 300 videos and more than 6,500 photos on the devices.

In similar situations, a suspect facing these serious charges needs a criminal defense attorney to ensure that all searches and seizures were lawful, to protect Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination and to thoroughly examine evidence. At the Law Offices of Horwitz & Citro, P.A., we use our negotiation skills and courtroom experience to defend you at every step of the judicial process.

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