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Putnam sentenced in child porn, spray tan scam

Michelle Putnam of Carrollton will serve 15 years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised probation for taking nude photos of women without their knowledge while they spray-tanned.

She will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Putnam, who had been scheduled for a July 15 trial in Isle of Wight County Circuit Court, pleaded guilty last month to one count of filming child pornography and three counts of reproducing it. She had initially faced 23 separate charges, the majority of which were not prosecuted per the plea deal, Commonwealth Attorney Georgette Phillips said.

The child porn charges, Phillips explained, stem from one of the victims of the spray tan scam being a juvenile.

Putnam was arrested in July 2019 after Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office deputies searched her Carrollton home in the 1000 block of Rivers Arch and discovered numerous photos of naked women who appeared to be in the process of spray-tanning. They’d been investigating a potential relationship she’d had with Gregory Wacks, a Carrollton man who was arrested that same year, also on child porn charges.

According to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Tommy Potter, a lieutenant at the time of the investigation, one of the victims told investigators she’d received a spray tan at a spa in Newport News after responding to a Groupon advertisement and was unaware she was being photographed or videotaped. They later learned two spas were involved: “Knot so Zen” on Pilot House Road and “A Polished Life” on Thimble Shoals. Both have since permanently closed.

They’d also found spray tanning equipment in Putnam’s home, according to the WAVY report, and evidence that the photos and videos had been uploaded to several websites.

Putnam had been arrested in the home of Wacks’ father in Christian County, Ky.

According to Phillips, Putnam will serve at least eight years of her 15-year active sentence per the state’s mandatory minimum. She’d been sentenced to 10 years with five suspended for the filming count, another 20 with 10 suspended for one count of reproduction, and five years, all suspended for the remaining two reproduction counts.

Wacks, who faced 20 felony counts of possessing child pornography and one count of distributing it, pleaded guilty to all charges in December 2019 and was sentenced on March 17 this year to 120 years in prison with 1000 suspended — an active sentence of 20 years. Upon his release, he will serve 20 years of supervised probation and 35 years of good behavior, and also be required to register as a sex offender.