A “wholesaler” admits to selling hundreds of thousands of false paper license plates made in Texas

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a woman from Houston has been sentenced for engaging in the distribution of counterfeit tags. She was found guilty of accessing the state database by providing false information and printing illegal tags. These tags were subsequently sold to other sellers online.

On May 10, 2023, Leidy Hernandez Lopez, aged 43, admitted to purchasing and selling counterfeit temporary buyer tags issued in Texas.

The judge ruled that Lopez must spend 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Additionally, Hernandez Lopez has been ordered by the court to pay restitution of $316,820 to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, as stated by U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

According to Hamdani, Lopez confessed to being involved in a conspiracy with others to sell counterfeit paper tags valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A federal grand jury charged and arrested Octavian Ocasio, a 50-year-old man from New York, in May for his involvement in the same scheme. This development occurred in June 2022.

He was held accountable for his involvement in the extensive fraud.

Daniel Rocky Christine-Tani, along with three other men, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly issuing over 700,000 fraudulent paper tags.

The indictment further includes additional charges against Emmanuel Padilla Reyes, a fugitive who is also known as Christian Hernandez Bonilla or Noel Rivera. If you have any information regarding Reyes’ location, please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or email them at www.TIPS.FBI.GOV.

The FBI has announced a reward of $5,000 for anyone who can provide information that directly leads to his arrest.

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Used car dealerships in Texas are required to possess an independent GDN license to engage in the buying, selling, or exchanging of used vehicles. Once the GDN license is acquired, dealerships can proceed with the purchase, sale, or exchange of used cars. Temporary buyer tags can be conveniently generated through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicle’s eTag portal, accessible exclusively by licensed GDN holders.

Lopez and Ocasio allegedly utilized fraudulent identities, driver’s licenses, lease agreements, and business signs in the online application portal to acquire GDN licenses for non-existent car dealerships, as per court records.

According to Hamdani, the consequences of this situation extended beyond financial losses. He emphasized that when Lopez sold counterfeit vehicle tags to other individuals, he essentially enabled criminals to create “ghost cars” that law enforcement could not detect. The use of these fake tags resulted in various crimes, including driving without insurance, robberies, and even drive-by shootings, posing a serious threat to public safety.

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