MISSOULA -- A Seeley Lake man who admitted to receiving child pornography after joining a Facebook group was sentenced on Nov. 7 to eight years and six months in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said this week.

Seeley Lake Man Sentenced for Receipt of Child Pornography

Charles Lief Isaacson, 62, pleaded guilty in June to receipt of child pornography.

The government alleged in court documents that in September 2022, Isaacson began communicating on Facebook with a profile he believed belonged to a child under the age of 14. Those communications eventually resulted in Isaacson’s arrest on Oct. 25, 2022, after he arrived at a location in Missoula County to meet the child. An investigation determined that in December 2021, Isaacson joined a Facebook group, called “Sweet Kids,” and was able to receive videos and images of minors involved in sexually explicit conduct. Isaacson also solicited one of the group’s members to send him child pornography outside of the group chat in a manner that would help them avoid detection by law enforcement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian C. Lowney prosecuted the case. The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office and FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force conducted the investigation.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided.

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Kalispell Man Sentenced for Firearms Violations

MISSOULA  — A Kalispell resident with three felony convictions was sentenced this week to three years and one month in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, after law enforcement recovered 10 firearms from his home after three incidents involving firearms, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said. Jose Angel Estrello, 40, pleaded guilty in June to prohibited person in possession of firearms and ammunition.

The government alleged in court documents that Estrello had three prior felony convictions, including two convictions for robbery in California, and was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition. In July 2022, Flathead County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of shots fired near McMannamy Draw and met with Estrello. Estrello was hostile toward the deputies and made comments about getting an AR-15 to defend himself against law enforcement. The next day, sheriff’s deputies responded to a disturbance involving a weapon in a campground. Deputies learned that Estrello exchanged words with another person about a parking spot, pulled a handgun out of his pocket and stated, “This is how we take care of this in Compton.”

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided.

BILLINGS  — A Billings woman who had absconded state parole and was arrested selling fentanyl from a Billings motel, was sentenced this week to three years and five months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for illegal possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Deana Louann Thomas, 42, pleaded guilty in June to prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

The government alleged in court documents that in December 2022, law enforcement received information that Thomas was selling fentanyl with a man from a motel room in Billings. Thomas had absconded parole from the Montana Department of Corrections. Officers knocked on Thomas’ motel room door and arrested her on a warrant. During a search of the room, law enforcement located a .38-caliber revolver under one of the beds and two rounds of .38-caliber ammunition on a nightstand. Thomas admitted that the firearm was given to her for protection. Thomas was convicted in 2019 of felony escape in Yellowstone County and was prohibited from possessing firearms.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided.

Whitefish Woman Admits to Defrauding Customers of Nearly $1 Million

MISSOULA — The owner of an interior design company in Whitefish this week admitted charges in a scheme in which she defrauded customers of approximately $900,000 and used the money for personal expenses, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Jennifer Michele Helm, aka Jennifer Michele, 45, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and to aggravated identity theft. Helm faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the fraud charge and a mandatory minimum of two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release for aggravated identity theft.

Sentencing was set for March 14, 2024, before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Helm was detained pending further proceedings.

The government alleged that Helm, while doing business as Sage Interior Designs, LLC, Interior Design Services, and Jennifer Michele LLC, defrauded at least 12 customers of approximately $900,000 from 2016 through 2023. To execute the scheme, Helm entered into agreements with customers to provide goods and services, usually by promising to order furnishing and fixtures as part of construction and remodeling projects.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided.

The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable.

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