“Used Car King of New York” Sentenced to Federal Prison for Wire Fraud Conspiracy in Houston
A 52-year-old man known as the “Used Car King of New York” has been sentenced to federal prison after being found guilty of conspiring to commit wire fraud. Octavian Ocasio, who had previously pleaded guilty on October 18, 2022, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. for his involvement in a scheme to fraudulently obtain and sell Texas-issued temporary buyer tags for vehicles located outside of Texas, all without a legitimate vehicle purchase.
Ocasio has been ordered to serve 53 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. During the sentencing hearing, it was revealed that Ocasio and his co-conspirators operated a widespread fraud by creating fictitious car dealerships and selling Texas temporary buyer tags without the sale of actual vehicles. They also misled buyers by falsely claiming that their actions were legal. The court emphasized that Ocasio used mass marketing and sophisticated methods to carry out the offense and ordered him to pay restitution to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles in the amount of $324,600.
Acting Special Agent in Charge David Martinez of the FBI expressed his pride in the investigative efforts, stating, “It’s not every day that one of our cases leads to changes in the law, so I’m extremely proud of our FBI Houston agents and our partners who maneuvered through the complexities and scale of this investigation in the name of justice.” He added, “Ocasio was one of several who, for too long, allowed thousands of drivers across the country to ride around with fraudulent paper license plates – all just to save a few dollars. Now, he’ll have to park himself inside a federal prison to pay for his crimes.”
Ocasio and his co-conspirators conducted their illegal activities over the internet, buying and selling fraudulent state-issued buyer tags and transferring the proceeds from these unlawful sales. Ocasio admitted to using communication platforms such as Gmail, Instagram, and Facebook to facilitate the exchange of fraudulent buyer tags across the United States, including states like New York, Florida, and Washington, D.C. They also advertised the state-issued buyer tags on various social media platforms and handled the proceeds of their fraudulent activities through electronic payment services like Cash App and Zelle.
Octavian Ocasio will remain in custody until he is transferred to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility, which will be determined in the near future. Ocasio and his co-conspirators were reported to have pocketed more than $200 million from their illegal activities, which not only exploited the state of Texas but also allowed unsafe vehicles to operate on the streets with uninsured and unlicensed drivers.
Emmanuel Padilla Reyes of Sugarland, Texas, aka Christian Hernandez Bonilla or Noel Rivera is still a fugitive in this case. The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone providing information that directly leads to his arrest. Those with information about the fugitive’s location should call 1-800-CALL-FBI or email www.TIPS.FBI.GOV