YouTube Stars Accused Of Scamming People Out Of Millions

Scammers were a problem long before the Internet came along. But online, the opportunity to scam seems to be everywhere. That may explain why some of the most controversial YouTube stars have been accused of scamming people out of millions. While there are YouTubers who make money honestly through ethical audience engagement, there are some influencers who have used their sizable audiences to make money in allegedly dishonest and often illegal ways. 

When something like that happens, it doesn't take long for people to catch on to the ruse, and quite a few YouTubers have found their way inside a jail cell, as a result. Unfortunately, there are many others who weather the storm of accusations and come out the other side, clean and unaffected. Some people mentioned in this article have been accused of scamming people of their hard-earned cash, while others have been convicted for engaging in fraudulent, criminal activity. Those alleged to have committed crimes remain innocent until proven guilty in the criminal justice system, so the details of their purported crimes aren't always clear. 

That said, many accused of scams have been "canceled" over their actions which are alleged to have cost people millions, and the following YouTubers have arguably been accused or convicted of "earning" the most from such schemes.

Paul Denino (aka Ice Poseidon)

Paul Denino, aka "Ice Poseidon," got his start on Twitch playing "Old School RuneScape" before becoming renowned for his chaotic IRL streams. He was kicked off the platform in 2017, and has since carved out a nice niche for himself on YouTube where, as of writing, he has some 730,000 subscribers. As The New Yorker suggested in 2018, Denino has never strayed too far from controversy. That's included repeated problems with "swatting" — essentially a real life hoax, broadcast live as-it-happens — and run-ins with the cops. 

Then, in 2021, there was his alleged scam involving his very own cryptocurrency called CxCoin. Per The Gamer, the YouTube star allegedly encouraged his fans to buy as much as possible, claiming the pursuit to be a long-term project. However, Denino kept this going for only two weeks, before selling off his holdings of CxCoin. The impact of his massive sell-off was seen immediately, as the value of the cryptocurrency plummeted. 

In what the outlet called a pump-and-dump scheme, Denino created large quantities of his own crypto, got his followers to buy it which inflated the value, and then sold it all off, taking home $300,000 (plus $200,000 for the developers). Per a Kotaku report, the streamer appeared "remorseless" when confronted by Coffeezilla on the venture. On top of insisting there'd be no refunds, he told the whistle-blowing YouTuber, "sometimes you have to look out for yourself." Clearly.

Kayla Massa (aka Kayg0ldi)

Kayla Massa is known as "Kayg0ldi" on YouTube, where she boasts just over 100,000 followers. In February 2021, she had three times as many on her Instagram page when she was arrested and charged for bilking many of them out of more than $1.5 million. According to Quartz, Massa was arrested and charged by federal authorities for "conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud." The alleged scam was relatively simple and reportedly involved conning several of her followers into giving her their bank information.

Per the outlet, Massa would post pictures of cash with statements like, "If you have a bank account and trying make [sic] some bread dm me (serious ppl only)." She would then get a respondent's bank account info and promise to send them a few hundred bucks. Instead, she allegedly blocked them and, according to authorities per CBS Philly, "deposited bogus checks made in the names of real businesses and then quickly withdrew the cash." This reportedly went on long enough for her and nine accomplices to net more than $1.5 million in stolen money, and for Massa to flaunt an Instagram feed full of luxury. 

As of this writing, the case hasn't been adjudicated, so it's unclear what verdict may result of the alleged crimes. Since her arrest, however, Massa seemingly hasn't posted on YouTube, and her Instagram account has since vanished. She may be off social media while her case is pending.

Bill Omar Carrasquillo (aka Omi in a Hellcat)

Known to over 800,000 followers on YouTube as "Omni in a Hellcat," Bill Omar Carrasquillo found fame by posting videos of his lavish lifestyle, focusing on his massive collection of luxury cars and jewelry. The New Jersey star was the ideal rich streamer, but things weren't as perfect as they appeared. In September 2021, he was arrested and charged by federal prosecutors in a "TV piracy scam" that netted more than $30 million, per New York Post.

According to the United States Department of Justice, Carrasquillo ran an illegal streaming service from March 2016 to November 2019. He and his associates "fraudulently obtained cable television accounts and then resold copyrighted content to thousands." His subscribers paid $15 per month to access "retransmitted cable signals" from multiple companies. Per The New York Times, the wealth that made him famous arose from his illegal business, and it brought him to the attention of the FBI The charges levied against him included conspiracy, violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and many more. 

If he was convicted of all charges, he would have faced a maximum sentence of 514 years in prison. Fortunately for Carrasquillo, that didn't happen. In February 2022, Fox 29 Philadelphia reported that the YouTube star pled guilty to some of the charges. As of writing, he faces up to 10 years in prison and has had all of his luxurious assets seized by the FBI, per the outlet. 

Billy Altidor and Evanie Louis (aka B.E.A.M. Squad)

Billy "Billy B" Altidor and Evanie "Eva" Louis started their YouTube channel, B.E.A.M SQUAD, in 2016, and quickly built a large audience with videos focused on their children, pranks, and challenges. As of this writing, the channel boasts more than two million followers, with some videos boasting millions of views. Unlike most people on this list, the crimes of B.E.A.M SQUAD occurred before YouTube made them famous.

In a video titled "The End Of Beam Squad? *FINAL UPDATE*," the couple came clean about their past. Billy B revealed he "was stealing identities to make money," and Eva "allowed illegal money to come into [her] bank account," back in 2014. As reported by CBS 12 News, the couple accessed the Social Security Administration's site with personal information stolen from others, and changed the destination of benefit payments to their own bank accounts. As well as stealing money from more than 1,400 people in this way, they also filed false tax documents to obtain significant tax refunds they weren't owed.

In 2019, they plead guilty to charges of conspiracy and aggravated identity theft, and were sentenced to prison a year later, per United States Department of Justice. Altidor received two years, while Louis was given one year and a day. Since serving their sentences, the "B.E.A.M SQUAD" channel is more popular than ever, and has gained over 400,000 new subscribers since news of their crimes broke.

Austin McBroom

Austin McBroom and his wife Catherine McBroom started their channel, "The ACE Family," back in 2016. Like many YouTube parents, the McBrooms centered their content around their children, and the Ace Family has since acquired an impressive 18.9 million subscribers, as of this writing. Despite their popularity, Austin has managed to get himself into trouble on several occasions, including being sued for $200,000 by the city of Beverly Hills in October 2021, for holding an unsanctioned parade. Then, there's the scam allegations.

In 2021, Austin launched "Social Gloves," a boxing event billed as "YouTubers vs. TikTokers," with the YouTuber taking the lead in his fight against TikTiker Bryce Hall. The event was a success, with sites like Complex raving, "Just a few days after guaranteeing a knockout within the first two rounds, Austin McBroom made good on his promise." While McBroom delivered on his commitment to a great fight night, accusations soon arose claiming he didn't make good on his promises to pay the fighters or his investors.

Two months after the event, Forbes reported that LiveXLive (now LiveOne) sued Austin for $100 million for defamation, while basketball superstar James Harden, the primary investor, sued him for $2 million. According to Billboard, McBroom settled both lawsuits, resulting in a $3 million payout from LiveOne to "applicable payees," amounting to a fraction of the $10 million in unpaid event expenses. Harden's suit was likewise settled for an undisclosed amount.

Catherine McBroom

Separate from the allegations faced by her husband, Catherine McBroom has likewise had her fair share of shady accusations levied against her. In February 2021, McBroom launched a Valentine's Day giveaway on Instagram with the promise of bequeathing a trio of Tesla Model 3 cars to three lucky winners. As reported by Sportskeeda, many Instagram users took to the comments to suggest the giveaway was less than legit, and that the reported "winners" — along with the prizes — may not have truly existed, and were part of a scam. The family didn't respond to the accusations.

A few months later, McBroom was facing more scam accusations courtesy of her cosmetics brand, 1212 Gateway. When the social media star began promoting her brand on Instagram and other platforms, it didn't take long for those posts to be saturated with complaints. According to Dexerto, some customers accused her products of being "disgusting," while others suggested that purportedly faulty or damaged items were given unsatisfactory resolution or compensation, leaving some to allege the whole thing was a scam.

The situation got sticker still when a $30 million lawsuit was later filed against McBroom by TBL Cosmetics, Inc. (TBL). As reported by Insider, the social media star had partnered with the company, and was accused of trying to usurp control of TBL in violation of their contract. McBroom denied any wrongdoing. Regardless, she reportedly lost the lawsuit and paid $76300 in damages, per Dankanator.

Alissa Violet

Alissa Violet started out on Vine, gaining 600,000 followers for her six-second videos before the app shut down. She then moved to YouTube and other social media platforms, where she managed to amass more than 3.6 million followers and an equally sizeable net worth. Violet gained widespread attention when she briefly joined Jake Paul's controversial "Team 10." However, she's maintained fame on her own terms as a model, actor, YouTube star — and dubious designer bag donor.

In 2019, Violet was accused of orchestrating a scam via a Louis Vuitton giveaway involving her now-defunct partner company, Cheek. Launched on Instagram, the post showed Violet sitting among a slew of Louis Vuitton merchandise. In a since-edited caption, she explained that her followers could win "free Louis Vuitton bags" if they followed Cheek and tagged two friends in the comment section. According to BuzzFeed News, however, that caption was quickly changed to "long day (announcing the winners Friday)" and then simply "long day," which remains there as of this writing.

Per the outlet, winners alleged that they never received their prizes amid claims that messages to Violet and Cheek regarding the competition reportedly went unanswered. Eventually, Cheek folded, and two of the winners were disqualified because of their age and non-U.S. citizenship. However, those parameters weren't disclosed before the giveaway. Though Violet didn't comment on the alleged scam, Cheek denied the accusations to BuzzFeed news. 

Cole Carrigan

Another former "Team 10" member, Cole Carrigan is a makeup artist who posts videos of his work online. He's built up quite a reputation, but it has less to do with his makeup skills and more to do with all of the controversies he finds himself in. That's included some public beefs with Austin McBroom and Cameron Dallas, though he's largely, and mysteriously, disappeared from the online community since. While it's unclear why he's disappeared, it could have something to do with an alleged scam he was accused of pulling on his followers.

In 2020, he launched a new "pay for shoutouts" campaign wherein anyone who sent him $100 (or more) would receive a shoutout on his feed, according to Dextero. In screenshots shared by Clevver News, Carrigan suggested the shoutouts could be beneficial for people looking "to grow or promote" their own social media channels via his massive media presence.

It didn't take long for people to become suspicious of his actions. Per Dextero, several people alleged to have sent him cash without receiving their shoutouts. On top of that, Carrigan allegedly blocked them. The outlet further added that suspicions were heightened when the YouTuber requested payments be made under the "family and friends" system on PayPal, rather than be submitted as a business transaction. Not exactly legit. If a Reddit thread of complaints from those with allegedly unfulfilled orders is to be believed, Carrigan may have made off with thousands.

Thomas Petrou

Having launched his lucrative internet career on YouTube in 2015, Thomas Petrou rose in popularity before forming The Hype House, a collective of influencers who live and work together in Los Angeles, California. The YouTuber maintains more than 1.8 million subscribers on his personal channel, while The Hype House boasts nearly 20 million on TikTok and even has its own Netflix TV show. It's safe to say Petrou and the company have done well.

Like many successful influencers, Petrou and The Hype House diversified their interests into other moneymaking areas, including their renowned Hype House merch. One of their most sought-after items being the so-called "Hype Chain," which features a faux-diamond "Hype" logo on a silver plated chain. When it was first released in 2020, it was marketed as "free" with a noted value of $100. Sounds like a sweet deal, right? Maybe not. Many have claimed the chain-deal is a scam.

According to Paper, the chain's value wasn't a consideration because shipping costs were ridiculously high. On Twitter, people alleged that their shipping fees amounted to around $20. As one person suggested, the shipping cost from L.A. to many mailing addresses across the country should have been "as low as $3.80, according to USPS," per the outlet. Was this so-called "free" chain little more than a "Free + shipping scheme"? As of this writing, the product now costs $20 with free shipping.

Richard Bengston (aka FaZe Banks)

Richard "Ricky" Bengston, known to his fans as FaZe Banks, is a gamer and streamer who gained popularity through his intense and innovative kills in online FPS games. He joined SoaR and went by "SoaR Banks" for a while before becoming FaZe in 2013. Since then, he's formed FaZe Clan as a professional eSports organization, and made a lot of money over the years. Though, not without some controversy.

According to Business Insider, in 2021 several members of FaZe Clan were suspended and fired over an alleged pump-and-dump crypto scam. Centered around a "Save the Kids" token designed to help needy children, the scheme actually wound up making a lot of money for the Clan, instead. Though Banks condemned their actions in a Twitter thread wherein he denied any "involvement" in the alleged fiasco, it wasn't long before he was similarly implicated in his own pump-and-dump crypto scam.

That same year, BankSocial CEO John Wingate accused the star of having taken an undisclosed payment without fulfilling the promotion deal he inked with the crypto company. He told Mashable of the altcoin situation, "They pumped it and then they dumped it. Then he (FaZe Banks) backed out of the deal." On Twitter, however, Banks has maintained that he "never sold a single" token himself and that his wallet remains public. 

Adin Ross

Adin Ross is probably best known for streaming gameplay of "Grand Theft Auto V" and other popular games on Twitch, though he also has more than 2.5 million followers on YouTube, where he consistently uploads videos. Like many popular streamers, he has a great deal of influence over his many followers, and he's used that position to make a lot of money over the years. In Ross' case, he may have crossed the line when it comes to hustling crypto.

In a since-deleted tweet from 2021, Ross offered a $10,000 giveaway of MILF Token "to one lucky person," who had proof of "holding any amount" of the cryptocurrency in their wallet. The post was later re-shared on Twitter as a damning screenshot. Per Sportskeeda, he promoted the MILF token through the giveaway (which was canceled) and was reportedly paid $200,000 for his efforts. When the token reached a high enough value, the primary investors sold their holdings in an alleged pump-and-dump scheme. Initially, Ross denied the accusations. However, he later appeared to show his true colors.

In a video streamed on Twitch (and clipped by a Twitter user), Ross jokingly said, "That MILF token s*** I did a while back. I already told you guys don't buy that s***. I got paid a bag to do that s***." Ross laughed and added, "Like, I don't give a f***. I hope none of you guys actually bought it." 

Jake Paul

One of the biggest influencers on YouTube, Jake Paul boasts more than 20 million subscribers. His other social media accounts similarly feature high numbers of followers, and he's managed to create a media empire while also becoming a professional boxer. Still, Paul has been accused of some shady stuff over the years, with Insider noting that the social media star has repeatedly "found fame through scandal."

True to his reputation, in March 2022 he was accused of making "false or misleading statements to investors about SafeMoon." According to BeingCrypto, these allegations centered around Paul's promotion of a crypto coin, which led to a class-action lawsuit against people including Nick Carter, Lil Yachty, and Soulja Boy, as well as himself. Paul's involvement with the scandalously inflated token was discovered by Coffeezilla, who tracks down and exposes scammers.

As detailed by BeingCrypto, Coffeezilla was able to connect a payment of $190,000 to Paul, indicating Safemoon paid him to promote its token. But, that was just the tip of the iceberg. The YouTuber also managed to account Paul for $2.2 million in promotions and payments that were initially hidden. The issue that Coffeezilla and others have with Paul's endorsements isn't that he made them; it's that none of his posts were labeled as "sponsored ads," insinuating malfeasance in what amounts to numerous pump-and-dump scams involving Sademoon, Yummy, MILK token, and more. As of this writing, the Safemoon lawsuit is pending.

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian isn't much known for her YouTube content these days. Still, she maintains a popular channel with nearly 2 million subscribers, so it's fair to say she's got a presence on the platform. Arguably, Kardashian's kingdom is more Instagram than YouTube, however, and this is where she was accused of scamming her followers.

In January 2022, she was named in a lawsuit for allegedly promoting EthereumMax tokens in a pump-and-dump scam. Kardashian wasn't the only celebrity named in the lawsuit, which included Floyd Mayweather and Paul Pierce. According to the lawsuit, per The Hollywood Reporter, Kardashian and the other named defendants "touted the prospects of the Company and the ability for investors to make significant returns." But they "marketed EMAX to investors so that they could sell their portion of the Float for profit." Essentially, Kardashian allegedly shared posts to increase the value of the EMAX Token so she could sell it at a profit.

Per BBC, Kardashian shared the Instagram post to more than 250 million followers in June 2021, where she appeared to casually advertise the token under the guise of "financial advice" from her friends. Criticizing the post, Charles Randall of the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority flagged it as the "financial promotion with the single biggest audience reach in history." After the purported "dump," EMAX dropped in value by 98% and has since failed to recover, per the lawsuit.