The CEO of an Orange County digital advertising company was arrested Wednesday for allegedly soliciting sexually explicit videos from two young boys online, authorities said.
Qayed Murtaza Shareef, 39, was charged in Orange County Superior Court with 33 felony counts of sexually assaulting minors and possessing child pornography, according to a joint statement released Friday by federal and local law enforcement agencies, including the Orange County District Attorney. They are asking the public for other victims to come forward.
Shareef allegedly used a messaging app called Tango to contact two Virginia boys, 10 and 9, over five days starting on Christmas, 2013, according to the statement. Over the course of sexually explicit conversations using a fake name, he allegedly asked them to record themselves performing sex acts on each other, law enforcement agents said.
"He was very specific, asking them for sexual positions, acts, even body parts," said Vanessa Woods, an OC deputy district attorney.
Shareef, who lives in Aliso Viejo and maintains he is innocent, is also accused of sending the boys adult pornography and videos of sex acts being performed on himself, law enforcement agents said.
Shareef's lawyer said in a statement that the Afghanistan native maintains he's innocent and "is confident that he will be vindicated through the legal process."
The mother of one of the boys found a video on the child's tablet and reported the crime to a local law enforcement agency on December 30, 2013, the officials' statement said. Orange County's district attorney and sheriff collaborated on the arrest with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
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The Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force arrested Shareef at his home Wednesday. Shareef was charged with 30 counts of lewd acts with a child under 14 and counts of using a minor for sex acts, distributing pornography to a minor and possessing child pornography, according to law enforcement officials.
An archived biography on Irvine-based Adaptive Media's web page says Shareef founded the digital marketing firm. The page has since been taken down, but a cached version was still available, and the law enforcement statement identified Shareef as the CEO if an Irvine firm.
Investigators believe Shareef's Internet expertise helped him remain anonymous during their yearlong investigation, and believe Shareef could have gotten in touch with other victims.
"We have obtained information that there could be additional victims that's why we are putting this information out there," said Orange County Sheriff's deputy Lt. Jeffery Hallock.
If convicted, Shareef faces 752 years to life in prison, the statement said.
The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information or who believes they are a victim can contact Orange County sheriff's deputies at 714-647-7418.