MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - A Cherryville man pleaded guilty on Monday to child pornography charges after authorities said he secretly recorded nude videos of underage girls aboard his yacht and other locations in Myrtle Beach.
Richard Hilliard Jr., 49, pleaded guilty in court Monday, April 22 to the production of child pornography and the possession of child pornography.
According to the indictment, Hilliard was arrested on June 11, 2018 on charges of video voyeurism. Hilliard was the owner of a yacht called "Yachts O' Trouble," and he had been discovered secretly recording nude videos of unsuspecting women aboard his yacht, including minors.
Court records show the FBI coordinated with Myrtle Beach Police in an extensive multi-state and multi-agency investigation. Law enforcement discovered that Hilliard, over the course of eight to ten years, had secretly produced multiple secret recordings of at least 16 child victims at various locations in North and South Carolina, including aboard his yacht, in his homes, and in various hotel rooms.
It was reported that Hilliard lived on the outskirts of Cherryville, North Carolina and is part of a prominent family that owns a high-tech foam molding business.
Court records show that, at times, Hilliard produced secret recordings of victims he had hired as babysitters for his young children, and used multiple hidden devices to record his victims from different angles while they were using the shower and changing clothes.
Some of the victims were as young as 5-years-old, investigators discovered.
Hilliard faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the production of child pornography and he also faces a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $250,000 fine for the possession of child pornography.