A 38-year-old man has pled guilty to defrauding Uber out of $230,000 by using an application that helped him report trips that were significantly longer than they actually were.
On Thursday, Jesus Alejandro Millan Gomez pled guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to a statement issued by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.
According to court records, Millan Gomez made use of multiple, fraudulent Uber driver accounts that had been created with stolen identities through an online registration process. As part of the scheme, Millan Gomez also created numerous, fake rider accounts in places outside of Florida, including Mexico.
Millan Gomez then used multiple cellphones at the same time in conjunction with a “spoofing” location application in order to mask or manipulate his location through Uber. By doing so, he was able to pair trips together using the cellphones that he controlled.
Once a trip was underway, Millan Gomez used the location app to deceive Uber into believing that he had driven significantly further than the original destination requested. That ultimately increased the fares for the rides to astronomical levels.
In total, the trips that Millan Gomez created defrauded Uber out of $232,994.87 in payments. In order to complete the scheme, Millan Gomez exploited a weakness in Uber’s payment system. That weakness has since been patched.
Millan Gomez faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for the wire fraud offense, and a mandatory consecutive term of 2 years for the aggravated identity theft offense. A sentencing date has not yet been set in the case.