The leaders in perhaps the largest known YouTube royalty scam in history, Jose “Chenel” Teran and Webster “Yenddi” Batista Fernandez, have been ordered to pay more than $3.3 million in restitution to their victims. The amount is just a fraction of the $23 million in total royalties the two fraudsters siphoned from mostly Latin music makers, including Don Omar, Julio Iglesias, Prince Royce and Anuel AA, from about 2016-2021.
In total, the duo’s company MediaMuv fraudulently claimed to be the rights holder of over 50,000 sound recording and composition copyrights. Proceeds from this scam were then used by Batista and Teran to fund their lavish lifestyles, including Lamborghinis, real estate, diamond-encrusted jewelry and other luxuries, until their indictment in November 2021. They were indicted on 30 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.
The two will split the $3.3 million they are ordered to pay back to victims; one source explained that the money will be paid out slowly each month after their release from prison. Earlier this year, Teran was sentenced to nearly six years in prison and Batista was given four years.
The court is ordering Teran and Batista to pay just a small sampling of the many songwriters and artists who are owed royalties as a result of the scam. It stipulates that Regalias Digitales — a rights management firm that represents a number of the victims — is owed nearly $1.4 million, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) — which also represents many of the victims — is owed more than $1.2 million, Jose Luis Perales is owed $153,000, Los Caminantes is owed more than $149,000, Nancy Ramirez is owed more than $100,000, Vagon Chicano is owed $98,000, Grupo Mandingo is owed $67,000, Grupo Ladron is owed almost $56,000, SPARX is owed $49,000, Don Omar is owed nearly $21,000, El Ojo is owed $15,000, INAMU — Argentina’s National Institute of Music — is owed $11,000 for its catalog of artists, Pappo is owed almost $2,000 and La Renga is owed over $700.
The latest court document reveals that Reggaeton superstar Bad Bunny was also a victim of Teran and Batista’s false royalty claiming, which they conducted under the company name MediaMuv. The thieves stole $500 from the star, which they have been ordered to pay back.
Representatives for Regalias Digitales and the RIAA did not respond to Billboard’s requests for comment.
INAMU told Billboard it learned of Batista and Teran’s scam from its partners at AdRev, a digital rights management firm that is now part of Downtown Music. At the time, INAMU was working with AdRev to collect royalties on behalf of its catalog, and the organization subsequently got in touch with prosecutors. The Argentinian institute — which controls the rights to a recorded music catalog that includes Leon Giaco and Seru Giran — no longer works with AdRev.
AdRev was also a business partner of Teran and Batista. Over the course of the duo’s five-year scam, AdRev helped claim the duo’s royalties. To date, AdRev has not been accused of any wrongdoing by prosecutors, and Batista admitted to sending three falsified contracts with companies that “purportedly” managed artists to AdRev “for the purpose of deceiving [AdRev] into allowing [MediaMuv] to continue [its] fraudulent operation.” However, a previous Billboard investigation into the $23 million scam revealed that AdRev executives were warned of Teran and Batista’s suspicious ownership claims on many occasions but continued to work with MediaMuv despite those emails.