PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — A Palm Beach Gardens man was sentenced Tuesday after federal investigators said he enticed minor girls into sending him sexually explicit pictures of themselves.
Dwight Castaldi, 45, was arrested three years ago and accused of committing lewd acts on a 13-year-old California girl.
Authorities said Castaldi enticed young girls into sending him sexually explicit pictures of themselves by pretending to be a teenager during online chats.
Castaldi was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison and supervised release for life.
Beginning in 2008, prosecutors said Castaldi communicated with at least six underage girls, as young as 13, on social networking websites.
Prosecutors said that Castaldi told the girls he was a teenager and sent the victims pictures of an unknown young man, falsely claiming they were pictures of him.
During chats, Castaldi convinced the minors to take sexually explicit pictures of themselves and send the images to him.
Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Castaldi's Palm Beach County home in 2018.
Investigators said they found several electronic devices containing hundreds of videos and photographs of child exploitation material along with evidence of Castaldi communicating with others about the illegal material.
Castaldi previously pleaded guilty to production, distribution, and possession of child pornography and online enticement of minors.
U.S. District Judge Rodney Smith in Fort Lauderdale imposed the sentence.
Authorities said the case was a part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.