In what prosecutors are describing as a brazen case of fraud, two men have been charged with illegally collecting over $20 million in Latin music royalties.
José Teran of Scottsdale, Arizona and Webster Batista of Doral, Florida were charged Wednesday (Dec. 1) in federal court in Phoenix after being accused of fraudulently monetizing over 50,000 songs through their company, MediaMuv. According to sources, and to a report published in Marketwatch, the men unlawfully collected royalties on songs from a wide range of Latin artists, including Piso 21, El Fantasma, Angeles Azules and Los Askis.
According to the indictment, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona, Terán and Batista made false representations in order to claim more than $20 million in YouTube royalties in a scheme that began back in 2016. Operating under MediMuv, Teran and Batista allegedly sent an email to YouTube in 2017 stating they represented over 50,000 songs and requesting access to YouTube’s Content Management System (CMS). The men not only falsely claimed to own the legal rights to the songs but also assumed false identities to aid in their plot.
Court documents show Teran and Batista used their allegedly ill-gotten money to fund a lavish lifestyle, with Teran allegedly using over $500,000 to put a down payment on a mansion outside of Phoenix. Other alleged purchases included more than $90,000 paid to Beverly Hills BMW and another $129,000 paid to Tesla.
Today, Teran and Batista stand accused of conspiracy, wire fraud, transactional money laundering and aggravated identity theft. They could face up to 5 years in prison for conspiracy, 20 years for wire fraud, 10 years for transactional money laundering and a mandatory consecutive sentence of 2 years for aggravated identity theft.