BOSTON – A former Fall River resident was indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston yesterday in connection with a nationwide conspiracy to open fraudulent driver accounts with rideshare and delivery service companies.
Caio Felipe Oliveira Dos Santos, 27, of Brazil, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to the indictment, Dos Santos and others conspired to use stolen identities and/or falsified documents to open fraudulent driver accounts and/or rent or sell those accounts to individual drivers who might not otherwise qualify to drive for the rideshare or delivery services. The indictment further alleges that co-conspirators exploited referral bonus programs offered by the rideshare and delivery companies and used “bots” and GPS “spoofing” technology to increase the income earned from the companies. As a result of the scheme, Internal Revenue Service Forms 1099 were generated in victims’ names for income co-conspirators earned from the rideshare and delivery companies.
The indictment also alleges that Dos Santos and his co-conspirators used victims’ identifiers to apply for driver accounts with the rideshare and delivery companies, enabling Dos Santos and his co-conspirators to pass those companies’ required background checks and create driver accounts in victims’ names. At times, co-conspirators also edited victims’ driver’s license images to display photos of the drivers renting or buying the fraudulent accounts in order to circumvent facial recognition technology that the rideshare and delivery companies used as a security measure. Dos Santos and his co-conspirators allegedly obtained victims’ names, dates of birth, driver’s license information, and/or Social Security numbers from co-conspirators and other sources, including sites on the Dark Net. They also obtained driver’s license images directly from victims, by photographing victims’ licenses while completing an alcohol delivery through one of the services.
Eighteen co-conspirators were indicted in connection with the scheme in May 2021. Fifteen of those defendants have been arrested, while three remain at large. If you believe that you may be a victim of the allegations in this case, please visit: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/victim-and-witness-assistance-program/us-v-wemerson-dutra-aguiar-and-us-v-priscila-barbosa-et-al
The charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater. The charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory minimum of two years in prison, to be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division, made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Massachusetts State Police; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; National Crime Insurance Bureau; and the Concord, Lexington, Plymouth, Wilmington, Marlborough and Village of Rye Brook (N.Y.) Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristen A. Kearney and David M. Holcomb of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.