Ride-Hailing Fake Driver Account System – NBC Boston

Federal prosecutors charged 19 people on Friday for their alleged roles in a nationwide scheme using stolen identities to deceive transportation and delivery companies.

Ten suspects, mostly from Massachusetts but also from California and Florida, were arrested and charged with a criminal complaint of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The Massachusetts defendants are: Wemerson Dutra Aguiar, 25, formerly of Lynn and Woburn; Priscila Barbosa, 35, from Saugus; Edvaldo Rocha Cabral, 41, of Lowell; Guilherme Da Silveira, 28, from Revere; Flavio Candido Da Silva, 35, from Revere; Bruno Proencio Abreu, 28, from Saugus; Jordano Augusto Lima Guimaraes, 34, from Salem; and Alessandro Felix Da Fonseca, 25, from Revere.

The other two arrested are Clovis Kardekis Placido, 37, of Citrus Heights, Calif .; and Altacyr Dias Guimaraes Neto, 34, of Kissimmee, Florida.

Nine others are still at large.

Federal prosecutors in Boston said the suspects, all Brazilian citizens, stole the identities of more than 2,000 customers during their deliveries and then opened fraudulent driver accounts with several transport and delivery companies.

They then sold those accounts to drivers who might not otherwise qualify for jobs with these services, including those who couldn’t pass background checks or were not eligible to work in the United States, said. prosecutors in a statement.

“The ploy alleged in today’s charges was broad, violated customer privacy and allowed unskilled drivers to work for ridesharing and food delivery services,” Acting US Attorney Nathaniel said R. Mendell. “Millions of us depend on these services every day to get around and have meals and groceries delivered to our homes. They are an important part of the economy, especially now. “

The conspirators are also said to have fraudulently obtained sponsorship bonuses from companies by creating fraudulent driver accounts for the sole purpose of sponsoring other fraudulent driver accounts.

The suspects also used automated bots and GPS identity theft technology to fake the location of drivers in order to increase revenue from fraudulent accounts, authorities said.

“These individuals are accused of carrying out a nationwide scam in which they dragged thousands of innocent people into their scheme by stealing their identities,” said Joseph Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI office at Boston. “They thought it would be an easy way to make a quick buck, but in doing so, they potentially compromised public safety by putting people behind the wheel who couldn’t find jobs at these companies through them- same. “

A spokesperson for Uber said in part: “We are grateful for the FBI’s efforts to investigate these cases and bring to justice those implicated in these crimes.

Lyft said in part, “Lyft has a number of features in place to prevent and detect this type of fraudulent behavior, and we are continually working to strengthen these systems. “

The program ran from January 2019 to at least April 2021, and at least five companies were scammed.

Mendell told NBC10 Boston on Friday night that the death toll is likely to increase.

“If you have been delivered to your home or if a carpooling driver asks you for a photo of the front of your ID, that is grounds for suspicion,” he said. “It’s good to be attentive when someone asks for your ID, make sure they’re taking a photo from the back, not the front.”

Anyone who believes they are a victim of this fraud is encouraged to contact the United States Attorney’s Office or Click here to go to the Department of Justice website.

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