Rolling Out

How Netflix and chill resulted in an arrest and a $1M cable bill

How Netflix and chill resulted in an arrest and a $1M cable bill
Rishi K. Sharma (Image source: Seminole County Jail)

A Port Orange, Florida, man’s love of Netflix and other cable programming got him in trouble with the FBI and a cable bill of close to $1M.

Rishi K. Sharma is being charged by the FBI with wire fraud after he racked up a cable bill of $927,000 over a two-year period. The first address he listed was under a company name in Cincinnati, Ohio. But when the bill came due after 90 days, he never paid it, and the service was turned off.

According to news outlet WFTV-9, he went on to open a total of 68 other accounts using different company names in different cities from 2015 to 2016, cheating cable giant Time Warner Communications out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But Sharma apparently never lived in any of those cities, according to a family member, and always resided in Florida. He closed the front door of his home and threatened to call police when WFTV visited the residence this week to ask him about the charges. His brother A.J. Sharma told reporters he believed that his brother was innocent and was currently stressed out over the arrest.

The cable industry works with law enforcement authorities around the country to stop the unauthorized sale of cable descramblers to consumers. Based on a survey done by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the industry loses an estimated $6.6 billion in revenue annually.

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