Using investor gold rush touchstones such as “Netflix” and “Amazon,” especially through the magic of television, Orlando’s Anthony Michael Hernandez conjured $1.3 million from investors for his streaming service Oi2Go. Court documents say the commercials bragged that, “Oi2Go is being touted as the American-Latino centric version of Netflix.”
Instead, the SEC, says, the only streaming involving investor money was from victims to app development, selling stock and Hernandez’s personal life: jewelry, American Express bills, divorce, child support and $18,000 to his girlfriend via cell.
That’s what the Securities and Exchange Commission alleges in its Orlando federal court filing charging Hernandez with violating the antifraud provisions of federal securities laws, conducting an unregistered securities offering and aiding and abetting others who acted as unregistered brokers.
Those are civil charges, going after alleged ill-gotten gains in the form of disgorgement with interest and civil penalties (fines). While the SEC goes after the money, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office wants Hernandez’s time.
The 52-year-old is charged criminally in Orange County circuit court with organized scheme to defraud; exploitation of an elderly or disabled person of more than $50,000; exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult; sale of securities by an unregistered agent; and cashing or depositing a worthless item with intent to defraud.
As of Sunday morning, Hernandez remained in Orange County Corrections jail, bond set at $200,000. On Thursday, he pleaded not guilty to all charges.
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How the SEC says Anthony Hernandez sold Oi2Go
State records say Anthony M. Hernandez registered “Oi2Go” as a corporation on July 12, 2017, and let it dissolve on Sept. 28, 2018, by not filing the proper paperwork. He registered “Oi2Go Media Technologies” on July 27, 2017, and let it dissolve Sept. 27, 2019. This second corporation is the one charged by the SEC along with Hernandez, who was listed as the president and only officer during the corporation’s two – year life.
(A Rafael Montiero registered a “Oi2Go Media Technologies” on March 22, 2022, which is still active with Hernandez as the registered agent).
What follows is from the SEC complaint charging documents and the state of Florida probable cause supporting affidavit.
Oi2Go Media Technologies sold itself to investors via TV commercials produced by VC Media Partners and via a slideshow (Roadshow Deck), both of which were on the website of America’s Next Investment (ANI). Both VC Media Partners and ANI are California companies run by Carl Dawson.
Oi2Go’s Roadshow Deck included a slide with a couple watching Oi2Go on their TV and the claim, “Oi2Go is continuously entering into licensing agreements to distribute the latest premium Hollywood films and next-day television shows. With on demand access, users can instantly stream content to all of their compatible devices, whether at home or on the go.”
“These statements were false,” according to the SEC, which also said that Oi2Go hadn’t developed its software.
This slide was part of the Oi2Go power point shown to potential investors as part of what the SEC and the state of Florida are calling a massive fraud. Securities and Exchange Commission complaint
The TV commercial, the SEC said, “presented Oi2Go as an “American-Latino Streaming Platform” and also gave the viewer the impression Oi2Go was up and running “poised for subscription growth.”
“The ad opens by telling investors to imagine they had invested in Amazon, Facebook and Netflix when those services were launched. It goes on to say “Oi2Go is being touted as the American-Latino centric version of Netflix,” the SEC says. “It also states “Oi2Go is the premier home and mobile OTT (over-the-top) platform for movies, TV and radio, catering to American Latinos everywhere.”
But Oi2Go couldn’t be “the premier home” of anything. It wasn’t running.
“Oi2Go’s TV advertising was the primary means through which it sought investors,” the SEC complaint says. “An internal document maintained by ANI reflects that 66% of investors identified the TV ad as the source of their referral.”
Oi2Go as seen on television by investors
Most of the senior citizen investors spoken to by Florida Office of Financial Regulation Investigator Manuel Rivero learned of Oi2Go by the TV commercials.
▪ Willis Bowick, the president of the Tampa Bay Black Chamber of Commerce, saw a commercial in September 2018 comparing Oi2Go with Netflix and Facebook. He called the 1-800 number and eventually found himself talking with Hernandez. Bowick wanted to talk to a board member before investing.
The state probable cause affidavit said Hernandez, who birthed the company in 2017, told Bowick “they were a solid company with more than 20 years of experience in the field of entertainment and assured him that they were on the same path as Netflix, Facebook and Amazon.”
A copy of the $5,000 check from Bowick sent to Oi2Go Media Technologies is included in the affidavit. Bowick told investigators his subsequent attempts to contact Hernandez about his investment “have gone unanswered.”
▪ Miami-Dade resident Debra Carney said she saw a commercial in January 2019 and, after talking with an Oi2Go representative on a single phone call she made, got swarmed by phone calls from Oi2Go reps saying “they were running out of shares, they were about to go public, that was the only chance, etc.” Carney dropped $2,000 for 200 shares, $10 per share.
“Carney didn’t receive any documentation about the purchase,” the affidavit said, nor has she received any communication from Hernandez, she said.
▪ Rivero wrote that Bryan Eng, of Midland, Texas, said in a sworn statement he saw an Oi2Go informercial on FoxNews “offering an IPO investment.” After checking the Oi2Go website, Eng wrote a $10,000 check (copy included in for 1,000 shares, but never got any documentation showing ownership.
“Eng also indicated that he read in a website that Oi2Go was in bankruptcy, and the owner Anthony Hernandez would pay back all the investors after the bankruptcy played out,” the affidavit said. “Which has never happened to date.”
▪ Brian Mitten told Rivero that after seeing an Oi2Go commercial while in the waiting area at a St. Petersburg VA Hospital, he invested $1,000 that day. An email from a Peter Val, who said he was Vice President of Strategic Accounts, helped cajole Mitten into investing another $5,000.
Information sent to Mitten stated that Oi2Go would feature “Celebrity Driven Passion Projects” from “your favorite “American-Latinocentric Celebrities” such as Luis Guzman and Kate del Castillo.
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Where did the Oi2Go money go?
The SEC said “While not receiving a formal salary, Hernandez simply used Oi2Go’s investor proceeds as an opportunity to fund personal expenses.”
The agency complaint broke it down as: $1,317,000 raised from stock sales; of that, about $338,000 was used to develop the digital app; about $488,000 was used to make the offering, including paying VC Media, sales agents, audit fees and lawyers; and about $456,000 of investor funds were “misappropriated.”
That includes, the SEC says, approximately:
▪ $26,000 for Hernandez’s divorce and child support payments;
▪ $10,000 on jewelry “at stores such as Cartier”;
▪ $142,000 on his American Express bills, “which included personal charges”;
▪ $100,000 in cash withdrawals;
▪ running up $160,000 in personal expenses for meals, coffee, gas, travel and retail shopping on bank account debit cards for Oi2Go and Oi2Go Media.
▪ “Finally, he made transfers via cell to his girlfriend totaling at least $18,206.”
Remember the second Oi2Go Media Technologies that registered with Florida on March 22, 2022? The SEC says that was a day after an emailed settlement letter to Oi2Go investors that promised a full refund plus 20% for “inconvenience.”
The SEC says Hernandez’s letter admitted Oi2Go Media Technologies had become insolvent in 2019, but an imminent sell of technological and intellectual property rights would give the company money for a refund.
“Hernandez had no reasonable basis on which to make the promises in the March 21, 2022, settlement letter, and in fact did not make such refunds,” the SEC complaint said.
This story was originally published January 8, 2023 2:53 PM.
Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He doesn’t work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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