Faking it til’ you make it isn’t always the best way to go, chile. A popular YouTuber known for his flashy lifestyle is looking at some SERIOUS fed time after authorities accused him of running a multi-million dollar scheme involving illegally selling copyrighted videos.
On YouTube, he is known as ‘Omi in a Hellcat’ and parades himself as a business mogul who always has something a lil’ flashy on his neck or wrist. This week, federal prosecutors said they charged Omi and two of his associates with selling copyrighted video content to thousands of subscribers on Omi’s own online service, according to the New York Times.
The feds allege the scheme made Omi and his friends more than $30 million from March 2016 until November 2019. Prosecutors say Omi, who is from New Jersey, used the money to buy houses and dozens of cars, including one he would regularly flaunt on his YouTube channel.
If convicted of his charges, Omi could face life in prison on conspiracy charges, violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, reproduction of protected work, access device fraud, making false statements to a bank, and money laundering.
Omi’s lawyer says his client denies the charges, though it sounds like Omi knew this was coming.
In June, he posted a video titled, “THE FBI IS BACK!!!” in which he filmed himself rocking a large diamond-encrusted pendant that flashed his brand’s name, Reloaded. In the video, he warned his 790,000 subscribers that the FBI had seized more than 30 of his cars and millions of dollars from his bank account.
He also told his fans that he would be indicted on charges that could include money laundering in connection to the alleged scheme. “I’ve kind of been depressed about it,” he confessed.
In an indictment, prosecutors said Omi and his crew must forfeit nearly $35 million in assets, including more than 50 cars and motorcycles and dozens of properties in Philadelphia.
“You can’t just go and monetize someone else’s copyrighted content with impunity,” said Bradley S. Benavides, the acting special agent in charge. “That’s the whole point of securing a copyright.”
Donte Mills, Omi’s lawyer, says his client is being branded as a criminal when he was really just running a successful business.
“[Omi] tapped into a brand-new, unregulated industry and was very successful,” Mills said in a statement. “Most people are called pioneers when they do that; Omar is called a criminal. The government assumes my client was not smart enough to do this legally because of his background. He is, and we will prove that.”
Want tea directly in your text inbox? Hit us up at 917-722-8057 or click here to join!