PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – A Palm Beach Gardens man has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges after he was accused of posing as a teenager to entice minor girls into sending him sexually explicit photos of themselves, prosecutors announced Friday.
Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida said in a news release that Dwight Castaldi, 45, began communicating with girls as young as 13 on a social networking website in 2008.
Prosecutors said he claimed to be a teenager and sent the victims photos of an unknown young man, claiming he was that person.
Castaldi would promise each girl an exclusive relationship with him and convinced them to take sexually explicit pictures of themselves, prosecutors said.
According to the news release, authorities executed a search warrant at Castaldi’s home in 2018 and “found several electronic devices containing hundreds of videos and photographs of child exploitation material and evidence of Castaldi communicating with others about it.”
Castaldi pleaded guilty in federal court in West Palm Beach to production, distribution and possession of child pornography.
His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 20. Castaldi faces a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison.
According to prosecutors, Castaldi recently completed a three-year sentence in California for enticing a 13-year-old girl using the internet.