Carson man sentenced to 14 years for possessing child porn, impersonating a federal officer

State News

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A Carson man has been sentenced to a total of 17 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography and impersonating a federal officer.

41-year-old Robert James Zeller pled guilty to the two charges October 19 and was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Bismarck.

Zeller was sentenced to 14 years on the child porn charge and three years on the impersonation charge. The two sentences are to be served concurrently, or at the same time.

“The defendant was already a convicted sex offender when he attempted to revictimize the same minor child by fraudulently posing as an official,” said U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley, “and today’s sentencing underscores the severity of those crimes, aggravated by his recidivism and duplicity.”

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, on November 22, 2018, while Zeller was on supervised release for committing a prior federal sex offense, he engaged in sexual acts with a minor female under the age of 18 and recorded those acts on a cellphone.

Later, on January 28, 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s office says Zeller impersonated his federal probation officer, contacted the same minor female and issued false threats against her in order to trick her into providing him with videos, photographs and personal information.

The case was investigated by the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Bismarck Police Department.

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