Buffalo postal worker charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WHEC) — A postal worker has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography, and investigators are seeking help from the public.

U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced Wednesday that Michael Fratini, 36, of Dunkirk, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to produce child pornography.

The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on Feb. 14, 2022, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office contacted the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force and stated that Fratini used his cellular telephone to solicit nude photos and videos of the pre-pubescent daughters of a female acquaintance, whom he met in October 2021 through a dating application.

After meeting in person, the female acquaintance did not hear from Fratini again until recently, when they spoke over the telephone and Fratini told her that he had a mother/daughter fantasy, prosecutors say.

He then sent a follow-up text message asking for videos and/or pictures of the female acquaintance’s daughters to fulfill his fantasies, according to prosecutors.

After receiving the text message, the female acquaintance filed a report with the Sheriff’s Office.

At the direction of the Sheriff’s Office, the female acquaintance continued text message conversations with Fratini.

On March 18, 2022, investigators surveilled Fratini leaving his workplace, the U.S. Postal Service on Grant Street in Buffalo, and traveling to an Amherst hotel where they say he was expecting to meet the female acquaintance.

After arriving at the hotel, Fratini was taken into custody.

The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years.

Members of the public who have information related to this case are asked to call the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 716-856-7800.