A collection of more than 50 sports cars, luxury vehicles, motorcycles, and ATVs seized from South Jersey YouTuber “Omi in a Hellcat” — including a custom Power Rangers-themed Lamborghini — netted more than $3.2 million at auction Friday.
Federal authorities will use the proceeds, in part, to help cover the more than $16 million the social media star was ordered to pay following his conviction on cable piracy charges last year.
“Omi,” whose real name is Bill Omar Carrasquillo, is currently serving a 5½-year prison sentence after admitting to illegally selling content hijacked from cable boxes to thousands of online subscribers paying him fees as low as $15 a month.
Carrasquillo’s business proved wildly lucrative, earning more than $34 million in revenue between 2016 and 2019, when the FBI finally shut it down.
Until that point, Carrasquillo pumped much of the money he earned into buying flashy rides and diamond-encrusted bling, which he featured in the slickly produced online videos that earned him hundreds of thousands of followers.
All of the items up for sale Friday — including the Power Rangers Lamborghini, which sold for an eye-popping $441,000 — were seized by authorities from Carrasquillo’s Swedesboro home in 2019 as part of the piracy investigation.
Here’s what you need to know about the auction and a few highlights from the sale:
Who is ‘Omi in a Hellcat’ exactly?
Carrasquillo, 37, had a troubled childhood in North Philadelphia that saw his mother deported, his dad putting him to work selling drugs at age 12, and a number of short stints in foster care and juvenile detention, only to remake himself as a successful businessman and social media mogul.
His company, launched in 2016 and known at various points by names like GearsTV and Gears Reloaded, was a leader among so-called illicit IPTV services, which offer streaming copyright-protected content over the internet at cut-rate prices. Before the FBI shut it down, Carrasquillo’s operation was delivering the equivalent of a deluxe cable subscription to its more than 100,000 subscribers for roughly $15 a month.
» READ MORE: Local YouTube star sentenced to 5½ years, ordered to forfeit $30M in large-scale cable piracy case
But while Carrasquillo made his money in the piracy business, he became famous for his social media persona. His “Omi in a Hellcat” YouTube channel, which boasts more than 800,000 subscribers, featured detailed reviews of his fleet of dozens of Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Porsches. and McLarens and other luxury cars mixed in with confessional-style videos detailing his rag-to-riches story.
What did ‘Omi in a Hellcat’ do?
After federal prosecutors charged him in 2021 with counts including conspiracy, copyright infringement, tax evasion, fraud, and money laundering, Carrasquillo cut a deal to plead guilty to some of the charges.
A federal judge in Philadelphia sentenced him to prison earlier this year and ordered him to pay more than $16 million to the IRS and the cable companies he defrauded — some of which will be covered by the proceeds from Friday’s sale.
He’s also likely to lose additional assets worth millions, including his Gloucester County home and a portfolio of about four dozen properties he has amassed across Philadelphia and the suburbs, under a criminal forfeiture order tied to his case.
What was up for auction Friday?
The Power Rangers Lamborghini was just one of more than 50 flashy vehicles — and four Lamborghinis — seized from Carrasquillo’s collection that were up for bid Friday. Others included a 2020 Bentley Continental, a 2020 Audi R8 5.2 Quattro V10, and three Dodge Challenger Hellcats — the elite sports car line from which he adopted his online moniker.
Auctiongoers were also treated to an in-person glimpse at Carrasquillo’s high-end jewelry collection — including a 2018 Eagles Super Bowl ring, six Rolex watches, and a pendant featuring “Omi in a Hellcat” spelled out in diamonds — that is available for sale in an online auction set to end later this month. Currently, the highest bid for the Eagles ring is $14,060.
What drew the highest bids?
The Power Rangers Lamborghini, which Carrasquillo featured in a 2019 video on his YouTube channel, attracted the highest bids, going for $441,000. The three other Lamborghinis up for auction all sold for more than $200,000.
A distinctive Backdraft Roadster sold for $116,000, and a 2020 Bentley Continental GT V8 went for $185,000.
In all, buyers from across the country — some voting in person and others over the internet — placed hundreds of bids.
Who gets to keep the money?
The proceeds from Friday’s sale will be held in an escrow account until a federal judge enters a final forfeiture order against Carrasquillo. Once that occurs, the funds — less the expense of hosting the auction — will be applied to the fines and restitution Carrasquillo owes.