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I don’t care what anyone tells you; crime doesn’t pay. Even if you manage to get away with it for years, your actions will still catch up to you in the end, and when that happens, even millions of dollars won't be worth it. A high level executive at the entertainment network Epix seems to have just found this out the hard way, as he has just been arrested on counts of identity theft and wire fraud after allegedly stealing millions of dollars.
Emil Rensing, former Epix chief digital officer, has just been arrested in New York for stealing at least $8 million dollars from the network's company over a five-year period. Between 2010 and 2015, Rensing reportedly stole the identities of several business associates and used them to create "phantom vendor companies." According to Variety, the complaint against Rensing states that the businessman used Epix money to pay these phantom vendors for services that were never actually rendered, allowing him to pocket the money on the side. The amount of effort required to actually pull this scam off seems staggering, with Rensing going great lengths to provide names and contact information in order to make these phantom vendors seem like legitimate companies whilst controlling the accounts from behind the scenes.
Following an appearance in front of a federal judge, Emil Rensing was released on $500,000 bond. We will know sometime within the next month whether or not federal prosecutors will proceed with charges against him. If convicted of these crimes, Rensing could serve up to 20 years in federal prison for the wire fraud charges, and an additional 2 years for the identity theft charges.
Rensing’s arrest actually came about as the result of an internal investigation at Epix. An unnamed party at the company began examining the phantom vendors and eventually stumbled upon the realization that Rensing had been lying about the situation for years.
The New York Southern District Court has pretty much thrown the book at Rensing, charging him with multiple counts of identity theft and wire fraud. At this point, Emil Rensing has denied any wrongdoing in the matter, and continues to assert that the phantom vendor companies did fall under the control of the business associates whom have now been classified as victims of identity theft. It appears that none of the nine identity fraud victims had any idea what was going on, or that their names had been used to perpetrate the crime, but that side of things will probably become clearer as the case gets unpacked.
Emil Rensing himself had a long and respectable resume prior to these allegations. In addition to his work at Epix, he had also taken high-level positions at companies such as MTV Networks Online and AOL. In addition to those positions, he also founded the video company Next New Networks, which YouTube acquired five years ago. The man clearly possesses strong business acumen, so it doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility that he could keep a ruse of this nature going for the better part of five years.
This incident will most certainly lead to a major shake-up at Epix. The company launched in 2009 and has since gone on to become a premiere entertainment provider in partnership with companies like Lionsgate, MGM, and Paramount to bring customers a variety of major motion pictures on television, online and on-demand formats.
Epix has yet to issue a statement regarding the nature of Emil Rensing’s alleged crimes. Given the extreme circumstances of the situation, we have a distinct feeling that he shouldn’t feel too confident in his job security. We will keep you up to date with any and all details related to this situation as the become available to us.