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Northland man charged with possessing child pornography

An International Falls man is facing charges alleging that he set up social media profiles using a stolen identity to lure girls into providing nude images of themselves.

Cory Nicholas Maish, 36, was charged in State District Court on Friday with one count of identity theft, one count of soliciting child/sexual conduct and three counts of possession of pictorial representation of minors.

If convicted on the most serious charge, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Maish was booked into the Koochiching County Jail on Friday afternoon and was being held there without bail as of Friday night, according to online jail records.

According to the criminal complaint:

A girl and her mother contacted the International Falls Police Department on Oct. 5, 2016, regarding a man, whose identity police later learned had been stolen by Maish, soliciting nude photographs of the girl via social media. The girl said the contact began four years earlier on Facebook. She exchanged photographs with him and he would ask for more provocative pictures each time. It was when the conversation moved to Snapchat that she sent him three nude photos. She asked him to delete the photos, but he refused and she blocked him from communicating with her.

She then saw his name online in September 2016 and reported it to her mother. Her mother contacted the man, who told the mother that someone had cloned his account and was soliciting girls in the International Falls area for nude photos. The man said he had reported the activity to his local law enforcement in Wright County.

The Wright County Sheriff's Office contacted the International Falls Police Department after it had subpoenaed MidContinent Communications for information on IP addresses on the Snapchat account. The addresses were for Maish in International Falls, the complaint alleges.

During the execution of a search warrant at Maish's residence, the police department and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension located electronic equipment that contained fake social media profiles using the stolen name and hundreds of images of child pornography, including photographs of identifiable child victims. Maish admitted to creating the fake account and using it to obtain photos of girls.

In reviewing the evidence, the BCA found details of a conversation between another fake identity created by Maish and another girl in which he asked her to send him photographs.

Maish obtained the images using the stolen identity of a man named Joshua, according to the BCA. Maish also created profiles on social media using the name Jimmy and using the identifier "broncoplayer17," the BCA reported.

Authorities said Friday that other victims likely unknowingly sent images of themselves to Maish based on evidence obtained during the investigation, and the BCA urged people who believe they are victims to contact the agency at (877) 996-6222.