IRS:CI 2023 Top Ten Tax Crimes: No. 5--Copyright Infringement and Fraud

copyright infringementThe charges against the defendant in the number five spot on the IRS:CI countdown run the gamut from money laundering to tax evasion, media piracy, and more.


Bill Omar Carrasquillo was the subject of an IRS criminal investigation, which was assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office. Mr. Carrasquillo, also known as “Omi the Hellcat,” put together a broad copyright infringement scam that resold pirated copyrighted content to subscribers of his own service.


Well-known on YouTube, Mr. Carrasquillo pursued his scheme from March of 2016 until late 2019.  Mr. Carrasquillo and his crew obtained access to cable television accounts fraudulently. In addition to pirating content, the criminal activity included trying to gain access to merchant processing accounts. Overall, the group pulled in about $30 million. The high value of the tax crime was based on the intellectual property and the pirated content was stolen and resold to subscribers without regard for copyright infringement.


U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero said, "Income gained from the infringement of copyrights is taken seriously, and the federal government will continue its commitment to protecting copyright holders, creators, and the millions of customers who enjoy the fruits of a strong intellectual property rights system." 


Mr. Carrasquillo made no attempt to hide his largess, purchasing property, jewelry, and more than 50 vehicles, some of high value including a Lamborghini and other vehicles that were later auctioned off by U.S. Marshalls. When confronted with warrants for seizure of his vehicles, he tried to hide some of the cars and made false statements to law enforcement about others. Word of advice--never make false statements to IRS agents who have arrived to seize property obtained through criminal means. Instead, call an experienced criminal tax attorney for assistance.


Like many who earn ill-gotten gains from tax crime, Mr. Carrasquillo also failed to report his criminal proceeds to the IRS. As the IRS:CI agent involved in this case noted, "Whether obtained legally or illegally, all income must be reported."


Convicted of several crimes, 37-year-old Mr. Carrasquillo will spend the next five years in prison.  He has been ordered to pay $5 million in restitution to the IRS and $10.7 million to the cable companies from whom he pirated content. In addition to paying these sums, Mr. Carrasquillo is required to forfeit the proceeds of his criminal enterprise—tagged at more than $30 million.


The scam he put together earned Mr. Carrasquillo millions—and he will likely spend quite a few years paying all of it back.


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The tax attorneys at Robert J. Fedor, Esq., LLC help individuals and corporations nationwide and abroad respond to allegations of tax crime, IRS audits, and compliance questions. When you need responsive, legal advice, contact us or call 800-579-0997. We have offices in Cleveland and Chicago.


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