A Scottsdale man, Jose Teran, appeared in federal court on charges for Conspiracy, Wire Fraud, Transactional Money Laundering, and Aggravated Identity Theft on Wednesday in connection with stealing music royalties.
A federal grand jury returned a 30-count indictment against Teran, and his co-conspirator, Webster Batista, 38, of Doral, Florida.
According to the Department of Justice, from 2016 to the present, Teran and Batista used fraudulent pretenses and made false representations to collect over $20 million in royalty payments for music that was monetized through a third-party company. Through their company MediaMuv, Teran and Batista allegedly first claimed they had the legal right to monetize over 50,000+ songs on February 13, 2017. The indictment alleges that contractual agreements were executed between MediaMuv and two third party companies in which MediaMuv made false and fraudulent affirmations that they had legal rights over the music they claimed to control.
According to the indictment, Teran and Batista did not pay anything to the top 30 artists or their representatives, whose music generated royalties that the defendants collected. Teran and Batista allegedly used the identities of others to make false claims about ownership and to create the false impression that MediaMuv had other employees. The indictment further alleges that Teran and Batista used the fraudulent proceeds to purchase high-end items such as cars, jewelry, and property.
If convicted, Teran and Batista face up to 5 years in prison for Conspiracy, up to 20 years for Wire Fraud, up to 10 years for Transactional Money Laundering, and a mandatory consecutive sentence of 2 years for Aggravated Identity Theft. They may also be fined up to $250,000 per felony conviction.