The US authorities have claimed that this millionaire YouTuber who built a massive streaming service is actually one of the largest TV pirates ever.
Bill Omar Carrasquillo, known online as ‘Omi in a Hellcat’, built a streaming service that netted him and his associates at least USD 30 million, but was in fact an illegal scheme, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The YouTuber and two business partners face charges including conspiracy to commit copyright violations, fraud, and tax evasion that could land them in prison for decades.
Carrasquillo’s arrest, which took place on Tuesday morning at his Swedesboro home in New Jersey, was live-streamed online by an unidentified woman who was at his home when the federal agents arrived.
Grand jury indictments claim that Carrasquillo, along with two other defendants, named by the authorities as Jesse Gonzales, 42, and Michael Barone, 36, “operated a large-scale internet protocol television (IPTV) theft scheme in which they fraudulently obtained cable television accounts and then resold copyrighted content to thousands of their own subscribers, who could then stream or playback content.
“The defendants also allegedly made fraudulent misrepresentations to banks and merchant processors in an effort to obtain merchant processing accounts.
“During the period of their scheme, the defendants earned more than USD 30 million.
“Carrasquillo, in particular, allegedly converted a large portion of his profits into homes and dozens of vehicles, including high-end sports cars. When agents attempted to seize those items pursuant to judicially-authorized warrants, Carrasquillo made false statements about and attempted to hide some of those vehicles, including a Freightliner recreational vehicle and a McLaren sports vehicle.”
The company, which has been called Gears Reloaded and Gears TV, among other names, is described by the authorities as a subscription service that could cost as little as USD 15 per month and gave users access to hundreds of items of copyrighted content including top Hollywood films and TV shows, as well as cable TV channels and pay-per-view events.
However, the authorities suspect it was all stolen from legitimate streamers such as Comcast, Verizon, and Direct TV.
Carrasquillo, 35, who reportedly owns dozens of luxury sports cars, told Fox News Philadelphia that he saw his home raided by the FBI the day before. He also said that he does not feel like he has done anything wrong and is confident that his “day in court” will see him vindicated.