The Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted three men on Wednesday in a massive video copyright infringement program that has spanned more than three years.
The indictment was unsealed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and named Bill Omar Carrasquillo, 35, of Swedesboro, NJ; Jesse Gonzales, 42, of Pico Rivera, Calif .; and Michael Barone, 36, of Richmond Hill, NY, as the authors.
Federal charges against the three men include fraudulently obtaining cable TV accounts and reselling copyrighted content to thousands of ignorant subscribers. The defendants also allegedly defrauded banks and retail processors to secure their own merchant processing accounts.
Operating between March 2016 and November 2019, the defendants are said to have carried out more than $ 30 million in video piracy.
“You can’t just monetize someone else’s copyrighted content with impunity,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Bradley S. Benavides of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI said in a statement. press release published by the DOJ. “That’s the whole point of getting a copyright. Theft is theft, and if you want to willfully steal another party’s intellectual property, the FBI is ready to step in and shut you up.
One of the defendants, Carrasquillo, is also accused of turning his earnings from the regime into various assets, including residential properties and luxury sports cars. When federal agents attempted to execute warrants to seize these assets, Carrasquillo allegedly lied to the agents and attempted to hide several of the vehicles.
Carrasquillo was arrested on September 21 and is charged with one count of conspiracy to infringe copyright and related offenses; 19 counts of public performance of a copyrighted work; four counts of access device fraud; six counts of electronic fraud; three counts of misrepresenting a bank, among a litany of other federal crimes.
The Philadelphia Inquirer clarifies that Carrasquillo is a well-known YouTuber and operates under the name “Omi in a Hellcat”. It has more than 790,000 subscribers.
Some of his videos document his new cars, including a Lamborghini Huracan and Rolls Royce truck. A recent video broadcast live of his arrest, which the Inquirer posted.
Carrasquillo also documented U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigations into his streaming services, with a video from the end of June anticipating his indictment.
“During this whole process I’m going to stay very professional, win or lose,” he said in the video.
Gonzalez was also arrested on September 21 and faces similar charges, including wire fraud, money laundering and public performance of a copyrighted work.
If convicted, Carrasquillo faces up to 514 years in prison and Gonzalez faces 244 years.
Barone, who has received a subpoena, faces similar charges and a sentence of up to 130 years in prison if convicted.
“These defendants are accused of engaging in a massive multi-year scheme to steal copyrighted content, which is a serious federal crime,” Acting US Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams commented for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in the press announcement. “As this lawsuit demonstrates, protecting intellectual property rights is a high priority for our office and the entire Department of Justice.”
This story was updated at 5:03 p.m.