Ghost Cars in Texas

12374286064?profile=RESIZE_400xA Houston woman is going to prison for her role in an elaborate scheme that included hundreds of thousands of fake paper license plates.  Leidy Hernandez Lopez, 43, pleaded guilty to buying and selling fraudulent Texas-issued temporary buyer tags for cars in and outside of Texas.[1]

Earlier this week, a US District Judge ordered Lopez to serve 30 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.  The court also ordered Hernandez Lopez to pay restitution to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles in the amount of $316,820.  The feds say the fake tags are often used by criminals to avoid getting caught.  “The harm in this case was more than monetary,” the Texas US Attorney said, “in selling fake vehicle tags to other sellers, Lopez provided criminals with the means to create ghost cars that were invisible to law enforcement."

The US Attorney’s office explained that some tags were used in violent crimes, including drive by shootings.

The illegal tags also pose a danger to the public and law enforcement because purchasers use them to avoid obtaining registration, safety inspections and liability insurance.

Forge of Empires - The feds say Hernandez Lopez and her partners created phony on line car dealerships to issue and sell the tags to buyers throughout the United States. They advertised the fake tags on Facebook and Instagram, according to investigators.

In June 2022, alleged co-conspirator Daniel Rocky Christine-Tani, 33, from Sugar Land, was charged with multiple counts of conspiracy and wire fraud.  Christine-Tani and Octavian Ocasio were also arrested and charged in connection with the scheme.

Emmanuel Padilla Reyes, 32, aka Christian Hernandez Bonilla or Noel Rivera, is a wanted fugitive charged in the case.  His last known address was in Houston.

Moral of the story – get your license plates from your state DMV, unless you want to end up in federal prison. 

This article is presented at no charge for educational and informational purposes only.

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