Covered by ABC News this week, 23-year-old Christopher Robinson has been charged with three felony counts of failure to pay child support and the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office used photos found on Robinson’s own Facebook page as evidence against him. On his Facebook account, Robinson posted several pictures of himself posing with various denominations of U.S. currency spread out on the floor, fanned out in his hand and propped up on liquor bottles. While Robinson’s Facebook account was set to private, police were able to obtain access to his account after a complaint was used as sufficient probable cause for obtaining a warrant.
When asked about the use of Facebook in the case, Milwaukee County Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern said “It’s a great investigative tool for us, because it gives us a glimpse into their real lives that our targets may be living. What a photograph enables us to do, if for example a photo demonstrates a somebody has more money than maybe they’re indicating they do, that allows us to apply to the court for a search warrant.”
With the pictures as evidence that Robinson had funds to pay for child support, an arrest warrant was issued for Robinson. If Robinson is eventually found guilty for failure to pay child support as well as other charges, he could face up to eleven years in prison.
Regarding Facebook’s cooperation in the investigation, a spokesperson for the social network stated “We work with law enforcement to the extent required by law, and as needed to keep the site and those who use it safe. Facebook devotes significant resources to evaluating requests for user information, and adheres to the letter of these laws when responding to requests for information.”