YouTuber 'Omi in a Hellcat' arrested for cable piracy

‘Omi in a Hellcat’ case: YouTube star says he pleaded guilty in …

Bill Omar Carrasquillo, commonly known by his YouTube name 'Omi in a Hellcat', has been sentenced to five and a half years in jail for piracy-related crimes.

Carrasquillo, who boasts almost a million subscribers on the platform, pleaded guilty last year to running one of the most successful IPTV services. He and two other defendants were said to have built a million-dollar business by illegally selling content from cable boxes to thousands of online subscribers for as low as $15 (£12) a month.

During his sentencing on Tuesday (7 March), he was required to forfeit over $30 million (£25.5 million) in assets, which included almost $6 million (£5 million) in cash from bank accounts, his supercar collection and several properties across Philadelphia.

“Thirty million dollars is a lot of money [but] tangible objects aren’t everything," US District Judge Harvey Bartle III said during the hearing in federal court. "You have a large following and there may be people who think if you can get away with it, they can too."

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Carrasquillo's harrowing upbringing was also mentioned, being one of 38 children. His mother was deported before dying of an overdose, while his father dealt drugs and taught Carrasquillo how to make crack cocaine at the age of 12.

The YouTuber lived between relatives and foster homes, with one caretaker intentionally sending him to a mental health facility so he was able to access prescription narcotics to later sell, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Most of his 20s were spent in and out of jail for drug and other offences.

Carrasquillo's attorney Donte Mills swore the YouTuber had moved on from that life, and with little qualifications, said he was able to create the business off what was seen as cutting-edge technology at the time.

Carrasquillo went on to apologise to his family, colleagues and to the cable companies he ripped off.

"I really didn’t know the significance of this crime until I was picked up [by the FBI] at my home," he said. "I feel like I let everybody down."

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