Community Living | Coupon | Police Scanner | E-News Signup | Archives | Merchant Directory | Dining Guide
Have a HOT TIP? Call 704-276-6587 Or E-mail us At
Advanced Search
Lincoln Herald | Lincolnton, NC

home : news : news November 30, 2020

6/30/2020 2:52:00 PM
Yacht Owner Is Sentenced To 35 Years

Department Of Justice
Press Release

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray announced Thursday, June 25 that William Richard Hilliard, Jr., 51, a former resident of Cleveland County and Cherryville, N.C., currently residing in Gastonia, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for secretly recording nude videos of underage females aboard his yacht. In addition to the prison term imposed, Chief U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger also ordered Hilliard to serve a lifetime of supervised release and to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison. Hilliard was also ordered to pay $88,476 as restitution to five victims and a $5,000 special assessment fee.

According to information contained in filed court documents and statements made in court, Hilliard was arrested on June 11, 2018, by Myrtle Beach, South Carolina law enforcement officers 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 females aboard his yacht, including minor and adult guests. Court records show that as a result of the events surrounding his arrest, the FBI coordinated an extensive multi-state and multi-agency investigation.

1 - First Federal standard ad 300

As Hilliard admitted in court documents, law enforcement discovered that, over the course of eight to ten years, Hilliard had secretly produced multiple secret recordings of at least 16 child victims at various locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama, including aboard his yacht, in his homes, in various hotel rooms, and elsewhere. Court records also 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 five years old. According to court records, also Hilliard engaged in sexual acts with one of the minor victims, which he secretly recorded.

On April 22, 2019, Hilliard pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography. He is currently in custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.

In making the announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the FBI’s Charlotte Division, the Myrtle Beach Police Department, the Horry County Police Department, and the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation of this case with assistance from FBI Knoxville, FBI Birmingham, Homeland Security Investigations, the Cherryville Police Department and the Gastonia Police Department. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice, aimed at combating the growing online sexual exploitation of children. By combining resources, federal, state and local agencies are better able to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue those victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Have Us E-mail You The Latest News
Click Here

Your #1 Local Source for News, Sports, Opinion, Obituaries, Religion, Classifieds, Events, Photos, Community, Coupons, and more!

Serving Lincoln, Catawba, Gaston and Cleveland counties including the areas of Lincolnton, Denver, Maiden, Stanley, Alexis, Vale, Crouse, Iron Station, High Shoals and Cherryville.

Not a newspaper, not a magazine, we’re online – on your computer at home or work, on your smartphone… with news and more 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year including holidays.

To Make Sure You Always
Get The Latest Updates,
If You Haven’t Already:

Like Our Facebook Page and
Click On SEE FIRST at

Also Follow Us On Twitter 

Related Stories:
• Guilty

1 - West Lincoln Vet Reg Ad with PHOTO MARCH 19 2019

Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it.

Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

HomeNewsState NewsReligionOpinionSportsObituariesExtrasCommunityClassifiedsSubmitLife

Terms and Use | Merchant Directory | Dining Guide
Site Design and Content
Copyright Lincoln Herald, LLC 2011-2019


Software © 1998-2020 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved