Five pleaded guilty to a scheme to steal identification documents through Rideshare, food delivery programs

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Federal Court
Federal Court in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

The last of five Brazilian citizens accused by the San Diego Federal Prosecutor’s Office of providing a nationwide scheme that involved stealing the identity of customers of the program for driving and delivering food, pleaded guilty. U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

Prosecutors allege that for three years the group stole information from driver’s licenses and social security numbers of victims, used that information to create driver accounts for companies that share and deliver, and then used, rented or sold these accounts, including to people. who would otherwise not qualify as a driver for companies.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the defendants received payments from companies and laundered proceeds from a scheme that began in 2018.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, defendants withdrew from redesign companies when demand for these services declined, and switched mainly to food delivery services that were much more successful during the pandemic.

Prosecutors say that in addition to cheating companies based on applications, the accused also stole and used the faces of nearly 100 people. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has not identified which companies were used in the alleged scheme.

Gustavo De Avila Moreira Farinha, 30; Tatiana Pereira Arantes, 38; Natalia Magalhaes Rocha, 30; Leonardo Trulsen De Oliveira, 30, and Tasia Da Silva Alves, 30, were charged last year and have since pleaded guilty to conspiracy and theft of personal data under aggravating circumstances.

“To date, all five defendants in the case have confessed to their scheme to steal hundreds of unsuspecting victims, many of whom have turned to food delivery services to survive the pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Theft of personal data can be a nightmare of frustration and anxiety for victims struggling to regain their good names. These defendants are fighting now. “

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