Three Men Indicted for Bootleg Cable TV Scheme That Allegedly Made $30M

Three men across three states have been indicted on federal crimes stemming from an illegal scheme involving lucrative copyright infringement deals, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Bill Omar Carrasquillo of Swedesboro, New Jersey, Jesse Gonzalez of Pico Rivera, California, and Michael Barone of Richmond Hill, New York, are all accused of running a multi-functional cable theft scheme between March 2016 and November 2019.

The three defendants, according to court documents, allegedly received cable television accounts and resold the copyrighted material to thousands of personal subscribers. The defendants also reportedly communicated with banks and merchants in a fraudulent matter to obtain multiple processing accounts.

As a result of these actions, the defendants allegedly made $30 million from the scheme.

Per the indictment, Carrasquillo allegedly spent a large sum of his illegal funds on homes and dozens of vehicles, including high-end sports cars. When federal agents attempted to seize the items in accordance with court-ordered warrants, Carrasquillo allegedly made false statements and tried to hide a number of vehicles from law enforcement.

Handcuffs and fingerprints
Three men across the United States have been indicted on federal crimes stemming from an illegal scheme regarding lucrative copyright infringement deals. The above stock photo shows a set of handcuffs and mock fingerprints. Getty Images

All three men have been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and one count of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, among other charges. Carrasquillo and Gonzalez are both charged with one count of reproduction of a protected work, and Barone also faces two counts of access device fraud.

If convicted of all counts, Carrasquillo, who was arrested on September 21, faces up to 514 years imprisonment, while Gonzales, who was arrested the same day faces up to 244 years imprisonment if convicted on all counts.

Barone was issued a summons to appear in court on Wednesday. If convicted of all counts, he faces up to 130 years imprisonment.

Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said that the defendants are accused of "engaging in a massive, years-long scheme to steal copyrighted content, which is a serious federal crime."

"As this prosecution shows, protecting intellectual property rights is an important priority of our office and the entire Department of Justice."

The FBI and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Agency are investigating the case.

Newsweek reached out to IRS-CI for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.