Wurld Media Execs Face Tax Fraud Charges

Two Wurld Media executives were arraigned on felony and misdemeanor charges including grand larceny, money laundering, falsifying business records, failure to pay benefits, and failure to withhold income taxes in Sarasota Springs, N.Y., on Friday, according to the local paper, The Glens Falls Post-Star. Wurld Media is a peer-to-peer company that Roo Group bought for $10 million in February.

wurldlogo.jpegThe charges reportedly came after a seven-month investigation by police and a state tax agency, and could potentially land the duo — Wurld Media CEO Gregory Kerber and CFO Richard Saxton — in prison for more than 50 years. The alleged crimes supposedly occurred late last year, prior to the acquisition, and during this summer, when funds from the sale were transferred.

Wurld Media has a checkered past. The company was involved with adware that was commonly attached to the popular P2P client Morpheus. A couple of years ago it started a new business unit called Peer Impact that was one of the first P2P services to establish legitimate relationships with Hollywood labels and studios. The software included an early revenue-sharing incentive for video creators and users who shared content. A year ago, Peer Impact offered its entire music catalog for a penny per song and 10 cents per album during the holiday season.

But the Peer Impact program, which required a Windows software download, never gained much traction. Roo’s modest acquisition price of $10 million (of which $2 million was reserved for milestone payouts) reflects that. Wurld Media does possess some intellectual property related to P2P technologies.

Roo discontinued support for Wurld Media over the summer. At the time, we were contacted by a Wurld Media customer who was understandably upset that he could not make new purchases or play existing ones. Despite our repeated queries via phone and email, Roo did not offer an explanation.

Roo now lists among its services an enterprise P2P product for media companies with the contact address being Greg Kerber’s email.

Our Peer Delivery Network (PDN) supports all industry standard media delivery methods and enables the development of new revenue streams from Pay-Per-View, Video-On-Demand, Subscriptions and Streaming.

Roo trades on the OTC Bulletin Board. It had sales of about $3.4 million in the third quarter, and a net loss of around $8.2 million.