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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Former Chief Digital Officer Of Premium Entertainment Network Charged With $8 Million Fraud

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Diego Rodriguez, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today that EMIL RENSING, former chief digital officer at a premium entertainment network, was arrested this morning on wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges resulting from a scheme in which RENSING used companies he owned and controlled to fraudulently obtain from his former employer approximately $8 million for services that were, in large part, never performed.  RENSING was presented today in Manhattan federal court before Magistrate Judge Frank Maas. 

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “As alleged, Emil Rensing abused the trust of his employer, hiding behind false and stolen identities, and submitting fraudulent invoices for millions of dollars of services never performed.  Thanks to the hard work of the FBI, Rensing’s alleged scheme has been uncovered.” 

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez said:  “Greed clouds people’s judgment, so much so that in this case Rensing allegedly used his friends’ names in a scheme to steal money from his employers.  This isn’t a case of an employee keeping the change after getting coffee for the office, Rensing is accused of stealing $8 million from the company that hired him.”          

According to the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:[1]

EMIL RENSING, who was Chief Digital Officer of a premium movie network (the “Network”), defrauded the Network out of more than $8 million over five years.  As Chief Digital Officer of the Network, RENSING caused the Network to contract with at least two vendor companies owned and controlled by RENSING (the “RENSING Companies”) to perform digital media services for the Network.  In addition, the agreements between the RENSING Companies and the Network specified which personnel at the RENSING Companies were to perform the services for the Network.  In truth and in fact, however, the promised services were, in large part, never performed by the RENSING Companies, and the vendor personnel designated in the contracts to perform the services – who included several of RENSING’s former professional associates and business partners – had never heard of the vendors or performed services for the Network.  These individuals were unaware that their names were being used by RENSING in this manner. 

RENSING concealed his fraudulent scheme by, among other things, using false and stolen identities to hide his own involvement.  As to one of the vendors RENSING used to perpetrate the scheme (“Vendor-1”), RENSING provided the Network with a false name and e-mail address as the “contact” to be used by the Network to communicate with Vendor-1.  As to a second RENSING Company, (“Vendor-2”), RENSING provided the Network with the name of a personal acquaintance as a “project manager” and “contact” for Vendor-2 when, in truth and in fact, this acquaintance had nothing to do with Vendor-2.  Unbeknownst to this personal acquaintance, RENSING also established an e-mail account in that acquaintance’s name that RENSING, posing as the acquaintance, used regularly to communicate with the Network about the vendor’s billing and other administrative matters.   

After the Network learned of RENSING’s fraudulent scheme, RENSING was interviewed by attorneys for the Network.  During this interview, which was recorded at the request of RENSING and his counsel, RENSING lied to further conceal his fraudulent scheme.

*                *                *

RENSING, 42, of Manhattan, is charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison to run consecutively with any other term of imprisonment imposed.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI. 

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Elisha Kobre is in charge of the prosecution.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Financial Fraud
Updated April 26, 2016