“Youtube Thief” Webster Batista pleads guilty to $ 20 million royalty fraud, Tesla and BMW lose

Last week, a prolific fraudster who allegedly obtained an estimated $ 20 million in a year-long scam with YouTube royalties pleaded guilty to two counts of felony criminal mischief and will now have to lose his sports cars and real estate.

Webster Batista was arrested last November in Doral and ordered by a federal judge to move to Phoenix, Arizona, to await trial along with his alleged accomplice, Jose Teran. The couple who were baptized “Content Thieves on YouTube” – YouTube Content Thieves – was accused of fraudulently claiming ownership of thousands of songs and submitting false copyright claims to YouTube content creators who used those tracks, raising $ 20,776,517 from 2017 to 2021 without paying a dime to the original artists. A grand jury indictment charged Batista with 15 counts of fraud, seven counts of money laundering and seven counts of identity theft, as well as a single case of conspiracy.

In Batista’s indictment, filed Thursday, he pleads guilty to two of the 30 charges against him: a conspiracy to commit a felony and a misdemeanor. In the deal, Batista stated that he would lose his five-bedroom property in Phoenix, Arizona, a 2017 Tesla X 100D, a 2014 BMW i8 and nearly $ 1 million seized from various bank accounts.

“Once in 2016, I discovered that there were recorded songs by musicians and bands on the Internet that were not made with money. I started searching for these songs and uploading them to [YouTube] as mp3 files, “Batista states in her complaint agreement, which has been embedded at the end of this story.” I erroneously claimed legal ownership over them and began receiving royalty payments. ”

As part of the lawsuit, Batista admitted that he set up a fictional device called MediaMuv in Arizona with the intent to fraudulently monetize music on YouTube, and that he erroneously claimed that MediaMuv owned royalties on more than 50,000 songs from a variety of genres. Among other things, Spanish songs from the 1970s to the early 2000s, as well as music from the popular visual novel game Doki Doki Literature Club.

In a video released on MediaMuv last December after Batista and Teran were arrested, YouTube user Mental Outlaw explained how the couple manipulated YouTube’s content identification system, which uses computer software to identify licensed music used in videos posted on platform, and highlights a serious weakness in the platform’s copyright policy.

Batista faces a maximum of five years in prison for her charge of conspiracy and a maximum sentence of 20 years for fraud. Batista’s lawyers rule in his plea that in return for his plea, the faux-media mogul should be convicted based on the lower row of the court’s guidelines for sentencing. In addition to his property loss to the court, Batista agreed to pay up to $ 25 million in compensation to the victims.

The defense and prosecution agreed on the terms of Batista’s appeal agreement last Thursday, and it is now up to U.S. District Judge Douglas L. Rayes to accept the terms of the agreement.

Batista’s accomplice, Teran, pleaded not guilty to all charges against him last December and has not changed his plea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.