Remember this. Fraudsters don’t care about you. Case in point, Thiago De Souza Prado. In 2019, Prado concocted a scheme which had little regard to not only the stolen identities he was going to use, but even less regard for the safety of anyone who wanted a ride. Prado had secured a treasure trove of Massachusetts driver’s licenses and social security numbers from the dark web. Using the stolen identities, Prado passed the criminal background checks, sex offender registry scrutiny, and driving record assessments required by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. Prado had successfully established more than 50 fraudulent driver accounts using the stolen identities.
Once he obtained the fraudulent drivers licenses, Prado applied for driving accounts with Uber and Lyft. When the accounts were approved, Prado then rented out the active Uber and Lyft driver accounts to those who couldn’t clear the background checks in their own name. Typically, because they lacked social security numbers or were in the U.S. illegally. But do not rule out a few who couldn’t pass the criminal background check. Safety was no concern for Prado. Fraudsters don’t care about people but they do care about money. In addition to renting out the fake driver’s licenses for a fee, Prado used his fake driver accounts to get bonuses from rideshare companies by referring his other fake driver accounts as new drivers.
Prado squirrelled away all the ill-gotten gains in bank accounts opened in the names of the identity theft victims and used the stolen social security numbers for tax reporting on their fraudulent accounts, with little care for ruining the credit of the stolen identities. Because, again, fraudsters don’t care. On September 21, 2023, Prado was found guilty of defrauding rideshare companies with bogus driver accounts by using stolen identities.
Shout out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “Massachusetts man convicted after over 50 fraudulent driver accounts created at Uber and Lyft using stolen identities” published by Fall River Reporter on September 22, 2023.
A Revere man was convicted Tuesday by a federal jury in Boston of defrauding rideshare companies using fraudulent driver accounts that he created using stolen identities.
Thiago De Souza Prado, 39, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, three counts of wire fraud, and three counts of aggravated identity theft. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf scheduled sentencing for Dec. 18, 2023. Prado was indicted in May 2021 along with 17 others, including co-conspirators Flavio Da Silva, Wemerson Dutra Aguiar and Luiz Neto. In March 2023, Aguiar was sentenced to 45 months in prison after pleading guilty to related charges. Da Silva is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 10, 2023. Neto pleaded guilty on Nov. 22, 2022, and fled the country before his scheduled sentencing in April 2023.