Cable television

Three Charged in $ 30 Million Cable TV Show After FBI, IRS Investigation

Three men have been charged with crimes resulting from a lucrative copyright infringement program, according to a press release from Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. in Philadelphia.

Bill Omar Carrasquillo, 35, of Swedesboro, New Jersey; Jesse Gonzales, 42, of Pico Rivera, Calif .; and Michael Barone, 36, of Richmond Hill, New York, have been charged, the statement said.

According to the indictment, from around March 2016 to at least November 2019, the defendants implemented a large-scale Internet Protocol TV theft program in which they fraudulently obtained cable TV accounts and then resold copyrighted content to thousands of their own subscribers, who could then stream or play the content. The defendants also allegedly made fraudulent false statements to banks and merchants to obtain merchant processing accounts.

During that time, the defendants won over $ 30 million.

Carrasquillo converted a large chunk of its profits into homes and dozens of vehicles, including high-end sports cars, the statement said. When officers attempted to seize these items with warrants, Carrasquillo attempted to hide some of the vehicles, including a Freightliner RV and a McLaren sports vehicle.

A detailed list of the charges against the individual defendants is as follows:

Bill Omar Carrasquillo is charged with: one count of conspiracy; one count of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; a chief reproduction of a protected work; 19 heads of public performance of a protected work; four counts of access device fraud; six counts of electronic fraud; three counts of misrepresenting a bank; 19 counts of money laundering; two counts of making false statements to law enforcement officials; two counts of removal of property to prevent seizure; and four counts of tax evasion.

In total and if convicted, Carrasquillo faces a possible maximum sentence of 514 years in prison, as well as supervised release, fines, restitution and forfeiture of assets.

Jesse Gonzales is charged with: one count of conspiracy; one count of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; a chief reproduction of a protected work; 19 heads of public performance of a protected work; four counts of access device fraud; five counts of electronic fraud; two counts of misrepresentation to a bank; and one count of money laundering.

In total and if convicted, Gonzales faces a possible maximum sentence of 244 years in prison, supervised release, fines, restitution and forfeiture of assets.

Michael Barone is charged with: one count of conspiracy; one count of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; two counts of access device fraud; and five counts of electronic fraud.

In total and if convicted, Barone faces a possible maximum sentence of 130 years in prison, supervised release, fines, restitution and forfeiture of assets.

“You can’t just monetize someone else’s copyrighted content with impunity,” said Bradley Benavides, acting special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI. “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.

“All income is taxable, including income from illegal means,” said Yury Kruty, acting special agent in charge of the local Philadelphia office for IRS criminal investigations. “In addition, it is a crime to knowingly engage in monetary transactions involving criminally derived property valued at more than $ 10,000 that is derived from a specified illegal activity, such as wire fraud. . “

The case has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and is being pursued by Deputy United States Prosecutors Christopher Mannion and Matthew Newcomer, and Prosecutor for Mr. J. Jeff Pearlman.

To follow

Beth Brelje is an investigative reporter covering Pennsylvania politics, the courts, and the Commonwealth’s most interesting and sometimes hidden news. Send him your story ideas:


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