Casey Parris, known on YouTube as RockstarFlipper, publishes videos about his eBay business. He buys clothing and other things at Goodwill, yard sales, pawn shops, etc. and then sells them on eBay for a profit. He appears to be good at selling things on eBay. He famously drives a BMW i8 sportscar, an automobile that costs around $150,000. According to his videos, he drives this high-performance, luxury vehicle to yard sales and Goodwill, in pursuit of his treasures to sell on eBay.
Friday night he published a strange video talking about a lawsuit he was a party to. Evidently a few years ago, he and a “business partner” were sued by Sprint for what Sprint claimed was “fraudulent activity.” Casey Parris and his “business partner” were buying Sprint phones and then selling them to a third-party.
Here’s the video:
Casey Parris said the case was settled and the terms of the settlement were sealed. He said there were no winners, no losers, but he couldn’t talk about the specifics because the case was sealed.
I’d never read or heard about this lawsuit until Friday night. Because I thought the video asked more questions than it answered, I did a search for the lawsuit. As it turns out, the case isn’t sealed. Anyone can read the ruling online.
Here are some of the main points of the ruling
FINAL JUDGMENT AND PERMANENT INJUNCTION AGAINST DEFENDANTS
JAMES D. WHITTEMORE, District Judge.
Plaintiffs Sprint Solutions, Inc. and Sprint Communications Company, L.P. (“Plaintiffs”) brought the above-captioned lawsuit against Defendants Casey Alan Parris, Kaitlyn Hedenstad and World Wide Sales LLC (collectively, “Defendants”), alleging that Defendants are engaged in an unlawful enterprise involving the unauthorized and deceptive bulk purchase and resale overseas of specially-manufactured wireless telephones designed for use on Sprint’s wireless service, including the Sprint iPhone (collectively, “Sprint Phones” or “Sprint Handsets” or “Phones” or “Handsets”), the theft of Sprint’s subsidy investment in the Phones, the unlawful access of Sprint’s protected computer systems and wireless network, the trafficking of Sprint’s protected and confidential computer passwords, and the willful infringement of Sprint’s trademarks (collectively, the “Bulk Handset Trafficking Scheme” or the “Scheme”). Sprint alleged that Defendants and their co-conspirators perpetrate the Bulk Handset Trafficking Scheme by acquiring large quantities of Sprint Phones from Sprint and/or Sprint authorized retailers and dealers, and by soliciting others to purchase Sprint Phones in large quantities for the benefit of Defendants. Sprint further alleged that Defendants and their co-conspirators acquire the Sprint Phones with the knowledge and intent that the Phones will not be used on the Sprint wireless network (as required by the Sprint contracts). Instead, Sprint contends that the Phones are trafficked and the vast majority are resold as new overseas where the Phones are not subsidized by wireless carriers (as they are in the United States) and where the Phones are not as readily available. In some cases, Sprint alleged that Defendants and their co-conspirators acquire the Sprint Phones with the knowledge and intent that the Phones will be computer-hacked. The purpose of this hacking, known as “unlocking,” is to disable software installed in the Phones by the manufacturers at the request and expense of Sprint, which enables the activation of the Sprint Phones exclusively on Sprint’s wireless system. The purpose of the software is to allow Sprint to offer the Phones at a discount to the consumer while protecting Sprint’s subsidy investment in the Phone. Sprint alleged that the illegally unlocked Phones are trafficked and resold as new by Defendants and their co-conspirators, at a premium, under the Sprint trademarks.
Court rulings can be hard to read. They’re routinely written as a giant wall of text. This ruling written by U.S. Federal District Judge James D. Whittemore is no exception.
Casey Alan Parris (RockstarFlipper) and fiancé Kaitlyn Hedenstad (the person he referred to as his “business partner” in the video) owned a company named World Wide Sales LLC. This company engaged in an unlawful enterprise referred to as the “Bulk Handset Trafficking Scheme.” Essentially, they would buy subsidized Sprint phones for use in the United States, jailbreak them, and then sell them as new for use overseas in markets Sprint doesn’t subsidize the price of the phones.
4. The Court finds that Defendants’ conduct constitutes violations of 15 U.S.C. §§ 1114 and 1125(a)(l)(A) and (B) (federal trademark infringement and false advertising). The Court further finds that Defendants’ conduct constitutes violations of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030, et seq., unfair competition, tortious interference with business relationships and prospective advantage, civil conspiracy, unjust enrichment, conspiracy to induce breach of contract, common law fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, contributory trademark infringement, conversion, and unfair competition under Florida Statute§ 501.204, and has caused substantial and irreparable harm to Sprint, and will continue to cause substantial and irreparable harm to Sprint unless enjoined.
In his video, RockstarFlipper belabored the point that he never purchased stolen phones. From reading the court document, it doesn’t appear he was ever accused of buying stolen phones.
The judge ruled RockstarFlipper and his business partner/fiancé had committed:
- Trademark infringement
- False advertising
- Computer fraud
- common law fraud
- unfair competition
- civil conspiracy
- tortious interference
- fraudulent misrepresentation
Although word “fraud” appears seven times in the judge’s ruling, there’s nothing mentioned about stolen phones.
6. Final judgment is hereby entered against Defendants Casey Alan Parris, Kaitlyn Hedenstad, World Wide Sales LLC, jointly and severally, and in favor of Sprint, on all of the claims set forth in Sprint’s Complaint in the principal amount of Five Million Dollars and Zero Cents ($5,000,000.00 (U.S.)), which shall bear interest at the legal rate, for which let execution issue forthwith.
RockstarFlipper said that he reached an agreement with Sprint to end the case. He said there were no winners, no losers. That’s not what the judge’s ruling says. The judge ruled in favor of Sprint, making them the winner.
Furthermore, RockstarFlipper said that he’s never owed anyone any money. That’s not accurate. The ruling clearly states Casey Parris, his business partner/fiancé Kaitlyn Hedenstad, and World Wide Sales LLC owed Sprint $5 million, plus interest.
If RockstarFlipper owed Sprint $5 million plus interest, yet never paid it, what does it mean? The most likely explanation is that he reached a post-judgement agreement with Sprint that whittled that $5 million judgement down to something more manageable.
That would explain why RockstarFlipper claimed the case was sealed and he wasn’t allowed to talk about it. The problem with this theory is that he claimed in the video that he never paid Sprint any money. That’s talking about it. If he was able to negotiate the $5 million judgement down, but the agreement stipulated he wasn’t allowed to discus the details, by saying he didn’t pay Sprint any money is discussing the details.
Why would Sprint agree to accept less than $5 million? Because if someone owes that much money, yet has no way of paying it, they can declare bankruptcy and avoid paying it entirely. I’m not saying RockstarFlipper or his business partner/fiancé declared bankruptcy. I’m only pointing out the threat of bankruptcy would be something they could have used to their advantage in any post-judgement negotiations with Sprint.
The thing I find the most puzzling about RockstarFlipper’s video is why he even made it. What was the point? I had never heard about the case until he addressed it in his video. His Friday night video seems like a prime example of the Streisand effect.
I’m still going to watch his YouTube videos. I enjoy watching them. For reasons I cannot quite put my finger on, I find his videos to be extremely entertaining.
Also published on Medium.