Sugar Land man accused of using fake car dealership to sell 700,000 fake paper car plates

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Thursday, June 2, 2022
Sugar Land man indicted in nationwide fake paper plate scheme
A federal grand jury indicted Daniel Rocky Christine-Tani, who with the help of three other men, is accused of issuing more than 700,000 illegitimate paper tags.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Sugar Land man, arrested and charged in a paper plate scheme with three other men, is accused of using fake car dealerships to issue and sell hundreds of thousands of Texas temporary buyer tags without selling cars, court documents state.

On Wednesday, a federal grand jury indicted 33-year Daniel Rocky Christine-Tani.

Prosecutors said the four men issued more than 700,000 illegitimate paper tags. They also allegedly used email accounts and text messaging to communicate and deliver the fraudulent tags to purchasers throughout the United States.

SEE ALSO: Fake paper car tags cost Harris County more than $80M in past 6 years, new report finds

Christine-Tani is expected to make his initial court appearance at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

The indictment also adds more charges against fugitive 32-year-old Emmanuel Padilla Reyes, also known as Christian Hernandez Bonilla or Noel Rivera. If you know any information about Reyes' whereabouts, you are urged to contact the FBI at 713-693-5000.

If convicted, each man faces up to 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

Leidy Areli Hernandez Lopez, 40, of Houston, and Octavian Ocasio, 50, of New York, are co-conspirators who were charged and arrested in the same scheme.

In Texas, used car dealerships must have an independent GDN license to buy, sell or exchange used vehicles. Once a GDN license is obtained, used cars can be bought, sold or exchanged. Temporary buyer tags can be created through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicle's online eTag portal, but the portal can only be accessed by licensed GDN holders.

According to court documents, Lopez and Ocasio used fake identities, drivers licenses, lease agreements and business signs in the online application portal to obtain GDN licenses for fictitious car dealerships.

RELATED: Head of Texas DMV resigns amid pressure to stop widespread sale of fake paper license plates