Days after a federal judge formally approved Webster Batista Fernandez’s plea deal, the MediaMuv scammer has officially been sentenced for his role in improperly claiming some $23 million in royalties.
Judge Douglas L. Rayes handed down a 46-month prison sentence to Fernandez, according to a newly filed judgement that Digital Music News obtained. Fernandez, who’s been incarcerated since his November of 2021 arrest, will also be placed on supervised release for 36 months, the legal document shows.
Behind the prison term – which is notably shorter than that sought by the probation office and two months shorter than that requested by Fernandez’s own legal team – Judge Rayes specifically sentenced Fernandez to 46 months for wire fraud and 46 months for conspiracy, with the terms to run concurrently.
And in keeping with his signed plea deal, Fernandez has further been ordered to forfeit a little over $1 million that he’d held in various bank accounts, multiple vehicles, and a Phoenix home that’s said to be worth north of $1 million, among other things. Post-release, the individual will be obligated to pay victims up to $25 million in restitution.
Back in June, Fernandez’s partner in the crime, Jose Teran, was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison. Meanwhile, Fernandez and Teran had tapped Downtown’s AdRev to collect the YouTube royalties at the scheme’s center.
Former AdRev president Noah Becker, who reportedly played a part in overlooking red flags surrounding MediaMuv, subsequently cooperated with the federal investigation. Now, Becker appears to have escaped culpability and accepted a position well outside the music industry, Digital Music News reported in July.
Plus, Downtown quietly folded AdRev into its FUGA subsidiary last year; “Adrev (part of FUGA),” the former entity’s LinkedIn page is currently titled.
Notwithstanding the sentencing of the main MediaMuv criminals and the seeming industry exit of Becker, however, the government is still attempting to identify the creators and rightsholders whose royalties were stolen as part of the scam.
Of course, with somewhere in the ballpark of 50,000 affected (largely Spanish-language) tracks, logic suggests that the task will prove highly difficult. The official list of songs with over $1,000 in stolen royalties apiece, for instance, spans an astonishing 1,349 pages. Those who own any of these works (and can provide documentation proving as much) should contact (email protected), per the appropriate government webpage.