4 Years for Stealing $23M – Billboard


Webster “Yenddi” Batista Fernandez, one of the leaders of the largest-known YouTube music royalty scam in history, was sentenced to nearly four years in prison on Tuesday (Aug. 15). The court documents were made publicly available on Friday.

According to court documents, Batista is ordered to serve 46 months in prison for one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. Upon his release from prison, he will be placed on supervised release for 36 months.

From about 2016-2021, Batista and his partner, Jose “Chenel” Teran, ran MediaMuv, a music company that claimed ownership of and collected YouTube royalties from over 50,000 songs, despite not having legal rights to nearly any of those works. The victims were primarily from Latin genres and ranged from hobbyist musicians to global superstars like Julio Iglesias, Don Omar, Anuel AA, Prince Royce and more.

Batista and Teran were ultimately indicted on 30 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft in November 2021. Six months later, Batista accepted a plea deal, admitting to one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. His partner, however, did not plead guilty and accept a plea deal until just before the start of his Jan. 17 trial date. Ultimately, Teran admitted guilt to single counts of conspiracy, wire fraud and transactional money laundering.

Teran was given a heftier sentence than his counterpart — in late June, he was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for his involvement in the scheme. According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, Teran’s sentence was “undoubtedly substantial” but reflects a desire to “deter future conduct” similar to the MediaMuv scam. The document adds that Teran is at high risk to re-offend, given his interest in returning to the music business after prison and the sheer scale and savviness of his scam.

“In particular, the government is alarmed that even news of his indictment did not stop Teran,” says the court document. After his indictment, the document revealed that Teran siphoned another $190,000 of stolen royalties and moved those funds to a bank account “out of the government’s reach.”

A court document filed on Aug. 7 claimed that Batista is working toward rehabilitation and should receive more leniency in his sentence as a result. “He wanted to rehabilitate his life” since his arrest in November 2021, says the sentencing memorandum. “[He] participated in Hustle 2.0, which is a self-directed learning program designed for incarcerated individuals to give them the tools for rehabilitation.” On May 3, 2023, Batista received a certificate for completing its “pre-season program.”

Many of the artists whose works were claimed and stolen from by MediaMuv are still unaware. To check and see if you are a victim, please click here and contact victim witness specialist Todd McKenney, todd.mckenney@usdoj.gov.

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