EAST ST. LOUIS — A 24-year-old Bowling Green, Ohio man, formerly of Altamont, Illinois, pleaded guilty today in federal court in East St. Louis, to identity theft, extortion, and child pornography charges.
According to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Stephen R. Wigginton, evidence at the plea hearing established that Stephen Mislich stole the online identity of a victim from Effingham County, and then used that identity to extort and attempt to extort nude images and videos form several other victims in the area.
One of the victims was 16 years old at the time of the offense and the images Mislich forced her to produce constituted child pornography under federal law.
Mislich, a former Greenville College student and a one-time contestant on the game show Jeopardy!, faces a maximum penalty of 63 years in federal prison, $2 million in fines, and a lifetime of supervised release.
Sentencing is currently scheduled for 10 a.m. December 29, 2015. Mislich continues to be held without bail pending sentencing.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Effingham Police Department. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Thomas E. Leggans.