Who is Octavian Ocasio? Texas man arrested for selling fake paper licence plates

Octavian Ocasio aka 'Used Car King of New York' was wanted since May for defrauding the government with his temporary license plate fraud scheme

                            Who is Octavian Ocasio? Texas man arrested for selling fake paper licence plates
Octavian Ocasio was arrested on August 3 in Long Island for multiple wire fraud and conspiracy charges (FBI Houston)

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK: Octavian Ocasio was wanted by the FBI for committing national fraud by selling fake automobile paper tags in New York City. The self-proclaimed 'Used Car King of New York' is believed to be responsible for the surge in fake paper license plates in the city. Ocasio is facing federal charges in Texas for the role he played in weaving the scheme. 

With the surge of drive-by shootings in the city, the NYPD announced in June that they would close in on those using fake paper license plates. These bogus plates were connected to 33 shootings and 60 other incidents which involved gun use, a New York Post article stated citing Chief of Department Rodney Harrison's statement where he said NYPD was "lowballing" the figures. “This criminal phenomenon is a byproduct of Covid-19 when the Department of Motor Vehicles was shut down and provided limited services and criminals taking advantage and producing fake fraudulent paper plates in return for finances,” Harrison said during Mayor Bill de Blasio's press conference. 


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Who is Octavian Ocasio?

In May, FBI Houston sent out a tweet from their official account writing, "#WANTED Octavian Ocasio, 49, from New York, and Emmanuel Padilla Reyes aka Christian Hernandez Bonilla, 31, are wanted for selling hundreds of thousands of fraudulent Texas vehicle paper tags." One of his associates was already caught and the department was now looking for Ocasio along with Padilla. "Leidy Areli Hernandez Lopez of Houston is also charged in the scheme and was arrested today by FBI Houston. The scheme involved the use of fictitious car dealerships to issue and sell over 500,000 of Texas temporary buyer tags without selling cars," said another tweet.



In May, the Department of Justice's Texas office said Ocasio and his associate Padilla were considered fugitives. A federal grand jury had charged him and his associates with various counts of wire fraud and conspiracy. According to the charges, Ocasio along with Hernandez-Bonilla and Padilla knowingly participated in the scheme to issue and sell more than 580,000 fraudulent tags to buyers across the United States. They allegedly provided false information such as fraudulent identities, drivers’ licenses, lease agreements and business signs in the online application portal to obtain GDN licenses for fictitious car dealerships.

The indictment further alleges they advertised the sale of Texas buyer tags on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram and used email to communicate and deliver fraudulently obtained tags. They also received and shared proceeds from the fraudulent sale of Texas buyer tags via electronic payment services like Cash App and Zelle, according to the charges. Ocasio made more than $250,000 in 2020 by selling as many as 3,000 bogus paper tags and his clients include car thieves and other criminals as well, according to the police. 

Ocasio worked with co-conspirators in Texas to create fake paper tags. He obtained the plates from the Department of Motor Vehicles with fake information and shipped these to NYC where they are illegal, according to sources. These fake plates make stolen cars seem legitimate and also encourage vehicle owners to break laws without any implications as these tags make the vehicles almost untraceable. 

“The quintessential used car salesman. The used car king has been dethroned," a source said revealing that Ocasio called himself the 'Used Car King of NYC' on social media. He was arrested on August 3 at Long Island Buffalo Wild Wings by the FBI/NYPD Joint Major Theft Task Force for multiple conspiracy and wire fraud charges. He appeared at a bail hearing the following day in Brooklyn federal court and was held on a $100,000 bond by Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes, according to court papers. 

Prosecutors in NYC and Houston wanted him held without bail until he could be extradited to Texas. They said he “was a fugitive for more than two months, repeatedly failed to turn himself in, and continues to engage in the crime,” the documents say. They argued, Ocasio used to peddle fake tags while avoiding arrest. There's a stay on his bail hearing till August 9, according to the documents.