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Press Release

Leader Of Miami Crew Sentenced To 63 Months In Prison For 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,” was sentenced to 63 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla for organizing a scheme to steal millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency and trick U.S. banks into refunding the millions used to purchase that cryptocurrency by using, in part, 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, then deceiving U.S. banks regarding those transactions.  Cabrera Da Corte now faces years in prison for this crime.  This sentencing should send a clear message that we, together with our law enforcement partners, will continue to zealously prosecute cryptocurrency scammers and money launderers.”

According to the Indictment, public filings, 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 while also keeping the cryptocurrency for themselves.

To effect this scheme, CABRERA DA CORTE and his co-conspirators 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. 

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In addition to his prison term, CABRERA DA CORTE, 27, of Miami, Florida, was ordered to pay restitution of $3,578,786.69 and forfeiture of $1,200,000. 

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

This case is being handled by the Office’s 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 November 29, 2023

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-411