HOUSTON, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Authorities say he billed himself as the “Used Car King of New York,” but the 51-year-old man now awaits sentencing on federal charges in Texas as investigators offer a reward for a man who remains a fugitive in the case.
Octavian Ocasio has pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to buy and sell thousands of fraudulent Texas-issued temporary buyer tags for cars outside of Texas without a legitimate vehicle purchase, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office in the Southern District of Texas.
Ocasio and co-conspirators went online to buy and sell the fraudulent state-issued buyer tags and exchange proceeds from the illegal tag sales, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
“As part of his plea, Ocasio acknowledged he and his co-conspirators communicated through accounts on Gmail, Instagram and Facebook to receive and deliver fraudulent buyer tags to purchasers all over the United States, including New York, Florida and Washington, D.C.,” stated an announcement from U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Ocasio advertised the state-issued buyer tags on social media platforms and received and shared fraud proceeds via electronic payment services such as Cash App and Zelle, federal prosecutors said.
The investigation spread across several jurisdictions. The FBI conducted the investigation with help from the Travis County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office, Houston Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police and New York City Police Department, authorities said.
U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. is expected to sentence Ocasio on Feb. 6, 2023. He will remain in custody pending that hearing.
Ocasio faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine, the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated.
“Emmanuel Padilla Reyes, aka Christian Hernandez Bonilla or Noel Rivera, is still a fugitive in this case,” the U.S. Attorneys Office stated Tuesday. “The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone providing information that directly leads to his arrest.”
Anyone with information about the his location should call 1-800-CALL-FBI.