Steve Marks, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida car salesman, was arrested Tuesday after investigators claimed to have found numerous files containing child pornography at his place of residence, sources say. The files were reportedly found on his computer as well as various CDs and DVDs. Marks, who first appeared in court on Wednesday, is facing charges on 40 counts of possessions of child pornography and possession of marijuana. His bail bond at Broward County Jail was set at $100,000.
Though reports mentioned that Marks, 50, is a car salesman, it is not clear where his place of work is. The car dealership where he works is apparently in Broward County. His employer has not come forward to comment on the case, and it remains to be seen whether Marks will be able to continue working there if he is freed on bond.
The investigation that led to Marks’ arrest charges began in February, sources say, when Marks allegedly advertised the sharing of child pornography online. It is unclear what services Marks used to do this, though investigators told reporters that they were able to track Marks’ computer IP address to his home in Sunrise, Florida. The allegedly illegal activity was caught by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, a government-funded organization that investigates and prosecutes people who use the Internet to exploit children.
“We’re able to see child porn as it crosses Internet lines. Through investigative techniques, we can see who is looking at them and sharing them. The images mostly depicted boys between the ages of six and 15 engaging in different sex acts with each other or adults,” an investigator was quoted as telling reporters. Many a South Floridian has been arrested for sex offenses through IP address tracking.
Investigators from the ICAC Task Force and members of the Broward’s Sheriff’s office executed a search warrant on Marks’ Sunrise home on the day of his arrest, reports indicate. Investigators told reporters that they found various images and videos of child pornography on Marks’ computer. Sources say that Marks also had child pornography hidden on DVDs that bore innocent titles such as “Guitar Lessons” and names of popular bands. In all, police reportedly seized two computers from Marks’ residence as well as hundreds of CDs and DVDs – some from his vehicle – that may or may not contain child pornography.
Marks’ attorney reportedly told reporters that Marks has no children and is not in contact with any family that has children either. During the search and before his arrest, Marks reportedly told investigators that he knew what the investigation was about, saying, “my life is over.” Investigators did not make a statement about whether Marks’ mother, who lives with him in the Sunrise home, is believed to be involved in his criminal activity. She currently has not made any statements to the press regarding her son’s arrest. Reports indicate that if Marks is released on bail, he will be required to wear a monitoring device and will not be allowed to leave the country.