YouTuber Omi In A Hellcat [Bill Omar Carrasquillo] is facing 514 years in prison after the feds arrested him for illegally selling copyrighted video content to his 790,000 subscribers.
He is facing charges of conspiracy, violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, reproduction of a protected work, access device fraud, making false statements to a bank, and money laundering.
Omi's business model was streaming cable stations and movies for a fee. According to the indictment, he stole from Comcast, Verizon, Charter, DirecTV, and Frontier.
“It was a straight streaming app,” Omi said in 2019. “I wasn’t stealing channels. I was paying for my cable boxes. I was paying for my cable service. And that’s why I’m so comfortable talking about it.”
The feds say 35-year Carrasquillo and his two associates, Jesse Gonzales, 42, and Michael Barone, 36, netted over $30 million in their illegal scheme, which ran between 2016 and 2019.
In addition to charges that could put them away for life, the feds are also demanding the three men forfeit nearly $35 million in assets, including more than 50 cars and motorcycles and dozens of properties in Philadelphia.
“You can’t just go and monetize someone else’s copyrighted content with impunity,” said Bradley S. Benavides, the acting special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s Philadelphia division. “That’s the whole point of securing a copyright.”
Omi's lawyer claims the Feds are just targeting Omi because he's a high school dropout made good.
“Mr. Carrasquillo tapped into a brand-new, unregulated industry and was very successful,” Mr. Mills said in a statement. “Most people are called pioneers when they do that; Omar is called a criminal. The government assumes my client was not smart enough to do this legally because of his background. He is and we will prove that.”