Skip to main content
Press Release

Leader Of Miami Crew Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Banks And Cryptocurrency Exchange Of More Than $4 Million

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ESTEBAN CABRERA DA CORTE, a/k/a “Esteban Cabrera,” a/k/a “Esteban Da Corte,” a/k/a “Steban,” pled guilty today to participating in a scheme to steal millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency and trick U.S. banks into refunding the millions used to purchase that cryptocurrency, in part by using personal identifying information stolen from other people. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Esteban Cabrera Da Corte orchestrated a scheme to steal millions of dollars by buying cryptocurrency using false and stolen identities and then deceiving U.S. banks regarding those transactions.  As a result of his guilty plea, Cabrera Da Corte is now being held to account.  Our Office will continue to work vigorously with our law enforcement partners to protect the integrity of U.S. banks and financial markets to the full extent of the law from those who seek to enrich themselves through fraud and deceit, including those who attempt to shroud themselves in the anonymity of digital transactions.”

According to the Indictment and statements made in court:

From at least in or about 2020 through at least in or about March 2020, CABRERA DA CORTE and his co-conspirators engaged in a scheme to deceive U.S. banks and a leading cryptocurrency exchange platform (the “Cryptocurrency Exchange”) by purchasing more than $4 million in cryptocurrency and then falsely claiming that the cryptocurrency purchase transactions were unauthorized, deceiving the U.S. banks and the Cryptocurrency Exchange into reversing those transactions and redepositing the money into the bank accounts that the Defendants controlled.  The Defendants then withdrew the money from the bank accounts.

To carry out this scheme, the Defendants opened accounts with the Cryptocurrency Exchange, frequently using photos of fake U.S. passports, fake drivers’ licenses, and stolen personal identifying information.  The Cryptocurrency Exchange accounts were linked to bank accounts that the Defendants controlled.  The Defendants used money that had been deposited into the linked bank accounts, frequently through a series of cash deposits made using ATMs, to purchase cryptocurrency.  That cryptocurrency was then quickly transferred to other cryptocurrency wallets outside of the Cryptocurrency Exchange that were controlled by the Defendants and their co-conspirators.  After the cryptocurrency was transferred, the Defendants made telephone calls to the U.S. banks during which they falsely represented that the cryptocurrency purchases were unauthorized, leading the banks to reverse the transactions. 

The operation of this scheme by the Defendants resulted in U.S. banks processing more than $4 million in fraudulent reversals and the Cryptocurrency Exchange losing more than $3.5 million worth of cryptocurrency. 

*                *                *

ESTEBAN CABRERA DA CORTE, 26, of Miami, Florida, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison, and agreed to pay restitution of $3,578,786.69 and forfeiture of $1,200,000. 

The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of Homeland Security Investigations’ El Dorado Task Force. 

The matter is being handled by the Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Deininger and Josiah Pertz are in charge of the prosecution.


Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated April 26, 2023

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-151