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I am a minor. If I offer to sell explicit pictures to a pedophile, and then refuse to send said pictures after they pay me, would I get arrested?

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    Even if you don't get arrested, it doesn't mean you'll keep the money.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Apr 21 at 21:40
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    Don't do this. The person you are talking to may be a cop, running his own sting. And whatever parents are involved here will not take kindly to cops showing up on your door, asking questions.
    – WPNSGuy
    Commented Apr 21 at 21:48
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    “It’s a bad idea” doesn’t mean “it’s a bad question”. The scam victim will likely not call the police (but there have been cases where a drugs dealer called the police when someone stole his drugs, both arrested). But an angry pedophile could take illegal actions against you. Huge risk.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Apr 22 at 9:06
  • @gnasher729 they might not call the police but that doesn’t mean that they won’t retaliate.
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 22 at 15:13
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    Except for varieties of self-defense, it's rarely legal to commit an offense against someone else just because they're committing an offense themselves. The law doesn't recognize "tit-for-tat" as an excuse.
    – Barmar
    Commented Apr 22 at 16:49

1 Answer 1

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Minors are generally free to void contracts, so there isn’t anything illegal about changing your mind about selling something to someone, even after you’ve been paid, though you are likely obligated to return the funds you've accepted.

It is not necessarily illegal to "scam pedophiles," but there are plenty of scams that are illegal, regardless of who the target is.

For instance, offering to sell child pornography is a federal felony, regardless of whether you complete the transaction or not. 18 U.S. Code § 2252A(a)(6).

Are you likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and imprisoned as a result of this gag? I’d guess not, but that’s your own risk to assess.

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  • Just because they are a minor doesn’t mean that they won’t be charged. gelmanlawfirm.com/blog/…
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 22 at 15:15
  • Assuming the OP doesn't really have child pornography, (A)(3)(b) probably better applies. (A)(6) requires one to actually own such content.
    – PMF
    Commented Apr 22 at 15:26
  • @JoeW I don't think anyone is suggesting otherwise.
    – bdb484
    Commented Apr 22 at 15:50
  • @PMF I don't I think that's correct. It's enough if the offer is transmitted online or over the phone.
    – bdb484
    Commented Apr 22 at 15:51
  • That is what I am reading from your answer, if this gets on the police/legal systems radar they would have both fraud and child porn charges and both of them tend to go well with voters.
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 22 at 16:14

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