The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced late last week that the fourteen people, who are Brazilian nationals, were charged in a second superseding indictment after a first indictment in May where 19 people were charged with wire fraud.
The Justice Department alleges that the 14 people used stolen personal information to create fake driver accounts that they would rent or sell to people who wouldn’t qualify to drive on ride-hailing or delivery apps. They are being charged with aggravated identity theft.
Court documents show that the people would obtain images of driver’s license photos, and other information from “various sources” including the dark web. Using that information, they would then create accounts on ride-hailing or delivery apps and then would rent or sell the accounts.
They would then use the accounts to refer other drivers and collect referral bonuses from the companies for the additional fake accounts they created, according to the court documents. The apps used are not named in the documents.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office also notes that the 14 people would “at times” edit people’s driver’s license images to match who was renting the fake account in order to “circumvent facial recognition technology that the ride-hailing and delivery companies used as a security measure.”
The defendants also photocopied victims’ licenses while delivering alcohol or in some cases intentionally got into car accidents to obtain people’s license information, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.