The owner of what was once one of the largest IPTV services, Gears Reloaded, this week learned that he will spend five and a half years in jail and must forfeit $30 million to pay back the cable TV companies.
Bill Omar Carrasquillo, also known as “Omni in a Hellcat” on YouTube, was once the owner of the popular IPTV service Gears TV also known as Gears Reloaded. This service offered access to live TV stations starting at just $15 a month. At one time, the service had over 100,000 subscribers bringing in over $1.5 million every month.
Back in 2019, the FBI raided the home of Mr. Carrasquillo and seized a large number of cars and other items. Ultimately he was found guilty of conspiracy, copyright infringement, fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion.
Now a judge has ruled he must give up over $30 million in assets, including $6 million in cash, according to a report from The Philadelphia inquirer.
“Thirty million dollars is a lot of money [but] tangible objects aren’t everything,” U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III said. “You have a large following, and there may be people who think if you can get away with it, they can too.”
Mr. Carrasquillo argued that his IPTV service was legal and operated in a gray area. Last year Congress moved to make IPTV services clearly illegal. In the past, cases like this ended up being civil now, increasingly, owners of IPTV services are facing lengthy jail times and harsh criminal seizures.
The Justice Department has argued that IPTV services have always been illegal under the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Sections.