MediaMuv fraudster Jose Teran, who was in 2021 accused of stealing $23 million worth of royalties by falsely claiming ownership of more than 50,000 songs, has accepted a plea deal.
Billboard just recently reported on Teran’s plea agreement, which arrives about 15 months after he and one Webster Batista were indicted for masterminding the brazen scam. For background, Teran and Batista set the scheme in motion seven years ago and, to facilitate the royalties theft, established a company called MediaMuv.
Through MediaMuv, the individuals in early 2017 claimed that they had ownership over the works in question, consisting chiefly of Latin music and including stakes in IP tied to Daddy Yankee, Anuel AA, and several other high-profile acts.
(Batista and Teran bragged about their operation and showed off all manner of expensive purchases on social media prior to being slapped with charges such as conspiracy and wire fraud. Long before arrests were made, the dimwitted defendants’ obnoxious behavior caught the attention of ticked-off creators and indie artists who were unable to monetize their respective works on YouTube.)
Meanwhile, Billboard last August reported that MediaMuv had used Downtown’s AdRev monetization platform to collect a substantial portion of the stolen royalties. AdRev, in turn, is said to have made millions in commissions on the MediaMuv account despite receiving complaints from the music professionals (and their teams) to whom the compensation at hand was actually owed.
AdRev co-founder and then-president Noah Becker exited the company shortly after Billboard published the in-depth article about MediaMuv. And while a former PR rep for both Becker and AdRev claimed that the exec’s departure was unrelated to the investigative piece, said rep further told Digital Music News that Becker was acting as “a cooperating witness in a federal case against the MediaMuv defendants.”
Downtown, for its part, has remained mostly tight-lipped about the entire situation, including the circumstances surrounding Becker’s split from AdRev and, more recently, Teran’s plea deal.
Downtown rep John Vlautin didn’t respond to DMN’s request for comment about Teran’s plea bargain in time for publishing. However, a Downtown spokesperson rather noncommittally informed Billboard that his company is “pleased” with the newest twist in the “complex fraud scheme.”
In any event, Teran has formally admitted that he stole over $23 million in royalties, as initially noted. The individual’s trial had been scheduled to kick off soon – his partner in crime accepted a plea deal in April of 2022 – and he is now expected to face sentencing on Monday, April 17th.
Batista and Teran have also reportedly forfeited a house, multiple vehicles, and a number of bank accounts as part of their plea agreements, though it’s unclear precisely how much money they blew through and how much restitution will reach the multimillion-dollar scam’s many victims.