DOJ: Leader of Illegal Copyright Infringement Scheme Sentenced to 5½ Years Imprisonment

The Department of Justice March 9 announced a 66-month prison sentence for YouTuber Bill Omar Carrasquillo, a.k.a. “Omi in a Hellcat,” for crimes arising from a wide-ranging copyright infringement scheme that involved piracy of cable TV, access device fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of copyright infringement.

In addition to prison time, 36-year-old Carrasquillo, who reportedly had more than 800,000 social media followers, was ordered to serve five years of probation upon release, in addition to forfeiting more than $30 million in assets and paying more than $15 million in restitution to victim cable operators and the IRS.

According to the indictment, from March 2016 until November 2019, Carrasquillo along with his co-defendants operated a large-scale internet protocol television (IPTV) piracy 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.

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The defendants also made fraudulent misrepresentations to banks and merchant processors in an effort to obtain merchant processing accounts. Carrasquillo converted a large portion of his illegal 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.

Carrasquillo was convicted of one count of conspiracy; one count of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; one count of reproduction of a protected work; three counts of public performance of a protected work; one count of access device fraud; one count of wire fraud; one count of making false statements to a bank; one count of money laundering; one count of making false statements to law enforcement officers; and one count of tax evasion.

“Income gained from the infringement of copyrights is taken seriously, and the federal government will continue its commitment to protecting copyright holders and content creators,” U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero said in a statement. “Today’s sentencing reflect[s] the severity of his actions.”

Jacqueline Maguire, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, said the sentence should send a message that willfully stealing another party’s intellectual property is a serious crime.

“Making money off of someone else’s copyrighted work is theft, plain and simple,” Maguire said.

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