YouTube star Omi In A Hellcat is speaking out about his recent arrest following a 62-count indictment for running a multi-million dollar TV piracy scheme.
Omi, real name Bill Omar Carraquillo, was arrested by federal agents on Tuesday (September 21) at his home in Swedesboro, New Jersey.
According to Omar, he didn’t do anything wrong.
He says he found a “loophole” in the system, and he has colleagues who used the same loophole to make a lot more money than him and they’ve never been investigated by the FBI.
The loophole that he is referring to is an Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) streaming service he created called Gears TV.
Gears TV allowed users to stream TV content over the internet instead of satellite or cable, giving them access to unlimited on-demand content, live cable channels, and pay-per-view events, for only $15 a month.
Reportedly, Omar had 791,000 subscribers on his channel, with videos averaging 300-500,000 views.
Omar and his partners made $34 million between 2016-2019, according to the indictment.
Watch the video below to hear Omar talk about how fast the money started rolling in:
According to authorities, Omar was illegally streaming to his subscribers by stealing from the encrypted set-top box signals of legitimate services like Comcast, Verizon FiOS, and Direct TV.
Bradley S. Benavides, head of the FBI’s Philadelphia office said, “Theft is theft” in reference to Omar’s case.
Theft is theft, and if you’re going to willfully steal another party’s intellectual property, the FBI stands ready to step in and shut you down.
You can’t just go and monetize someone else’s copyrighted content with impunity.
Omar knew the FBI was on his heels because they raided his home in 2019 and seized his assets.
A neighbor estimated that the FBI confiscated “probably 30” cars.
Omar maintains that he is not guilty of copyright crimes, he says he legally paid for subscriptions to all the cable services whose content he shared.
Omar did admit that he expected to face charges on tax evasion because he had some bad accountants that got him in trouble.
Watch the video below of Omar detailing the 2019 raid:
Omar would often flaunt his riches on YouTube and Instagram under the moniker “Omi in a Hellcat.”
He has nearly 800,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.
The 62-count indictment charges Omar and his partners, Jesse Gonzales, Pico Rivera, and Michael Barone with counts including conspiracy to commit copyright violations, tax evasion, and fraud.
If convicted, they are facing decades in prison.
Omar’s streaming service shut down in 2019, and in 2020 Congress passed the Protecting Lawful Streaming Act, which grants law enforcement agencies the ability to prosecute pirate streaming services as a felony.
Omar’s lawyer Donte Mills said Wednesday that there was no law explicitly prohibiting Omar’s streaming service at the time it was running.
There were no regulations when he did it.
We will prove the charges he received do not apply to his conduct.
Watch the video of Omar’s Tuesday arrest below:
Watch the video of Omar speaking out about his recent arrest below: