Man testifies in federal catfish case - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Man testifies in federal catfish case

Posted: Sep 07, 2018 5:07 PM +10:00 Updated:

He wanted out of the military. That's why this defendant says he knowingly participated in talks with a special agent posing as a 13-year-old girl online. On the stand Friday, Wilfredo Lopez tells all. The 30-year-old is currently on trial for attempted enticement of a minor and transfer of obscenity to a minor.

"I needed something to stop my pay." These words from defendant Wilfredo Lopez. The 30-year-old told jurors on Friday morning he was having marital issues and desperately wanted out of the military so he wouldn't be responsible for child support and alimony. Lopez has been stationed on Guam for two years.

He expressed that he had tried to fail his physical fitness test. He even asked his supervisor to be removed. When that didn't work, he found another way.

Back in November 2017, Lopez had responded to a Craiglist ad. For fun, he testified that he liked to "mess with people online" and he liked to "play a role to make them think I'm someone." The term is known as catfishing.

This particular post was advertising for massage services.

Lopez said he asked for more information - how much, where...and even asked to have sex with the user. The user identified herself as a 13-year-old girl named "Brit." In reality, it was a special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. The two exchanged photos.

Lopez sent nude photos of himself engaged in sexual acts. "Brit" also sent him photos, but Lopez testified he saw the red flags that he too was being catfished.

The teen girl should've been at school at the time of their exchange. Where her photo was captured also revealed "Brit" wasn't who she said she was. The girl reported living on base. Those housing units, Lopez said, are identical. Her home's carpet didn't match that of other homes. That's when he decided to play along.

He reported hearing about another soldier who was kicked out of the army in a similar case and hoped he would get kicked out too because he wanted his paycheck stopped by December.

"My plan was to get in trouble," he said. When asked if he got his wish, he said yes.

During cross-examination, Lopez agreed to all the facts the government presented in their case. It was later stipulated that the photos of "Brit" were in fact photos of an Air Force Security Forces Member born in 1991. This female is not assigned to Guam.

Defense has maintained that Lopez believed he was communicating with another adult, not a minor, despite the user's claims of being a 13-year-old girl.

Now his fate is left to a federal jury.

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