A teenager who teamed up with a gang of Uber drivers to scam the taxi app out of thousands of pounds by booking bogus rides has been jailed for eight months.
Onome Omonoseh, 19, created “fake” customer accounts with stolen credit card details on the dark web and booked long trips through the app.
Omonoseh, from Islington, north London, would rack up a huge bill worth hundreds of pounds for a trip out of the capital and the driver would pocket three-quarters of the cost.
Uber lost up to £10,000 while Omonoseh earned at least £1,760 as the ‘coordinator’ of the scheme, but the prosecution acknowledged the figure was ‘conservative’.
Dan-Alexandru Pasat, 29 (left) and Mihai Toader, 32, were two of the drivers involved in the scam
Uber lost up to £10,000 while Omonoseh won at least £1,760 as ‘coordinator’ of fraud scheme
Drivers Michael Julien, 50, Dan-Alexandru Pasat, 29, Kamlesh Sagoo, 62, Ibrahim Tekagac, 35, and Mihai Toader, 32, took Omonoseh on at least 44 trips from February 2016 to December 2016.
Stephen Requena, prosecuting, said: “The evidence shows that Mr. Omonoseh was the main instigator of the frauds against Uber.”
“He created fake Uber customer accounts on the app and ran fake rides the drivers were paid for, then a discount was passed on to Mr Ononoseh for organizing the frauds.
“The details were taken from a website that sells credit cards for fraudulent and criminal purposes.
“GPS tracking showed that the cellphone did not always travel with the drivers and, in fact, the fraud by Mr. Omonoseh and the co-defendants was in collaboration.”
Omonoseh claimed he did not have the ‘means’ to organize the fraud and said a group of young men from Islington, north London, led it.
Sagoo claimed that Omonoseh approached her wearing an Uber sweatshirt and offered her the extra job, which she initially believed was legitimate.
She thought 250 others were doing the same job and was a “victim of her own naivety”, the court heard.
Sentencing Judge Peter Ader said: “It was a sophisticated operation that took place over a period of time to defraud Uber, a taxi-type business, of its commission and fees.”
Ibrahim Tekagac, 35 (pictured) took Omonoseh on five trips between June and December last year
“Each of you played a part in this operation, but I deal with you according to your role and your personal situation.
“The total fraud was probably in the region of £10,000.
“The prosecution said it was a high culpability because it was a sophisticated type of offence. It took a lot of planning.
“Sometimes there was no one in the car – you were claiming a trip that didn’t involve picking up a customer – and it was over a long period of time.
“It was a breach of trust that Uber placed in each of you as a driver and a leading role that you assigned to yourself, because without you this could never have and never would have happened.
“You seem to have a big role to play in driving this system and especially in making it happen.”
Omonoseh was sentenced to eight months in a juvenile facility.
The court was told Julien took Omonoseh on 17 trips, between February 29 and November 4, 2016, at a cost of £4,434.93. Julien was paid £3,326.20 by Uber.
He was imprisoned for eight months.
Pasat took the teenager on 12 trips between July 24 and November 30, 2016, for a total of £1,756.52 with a payment from Uber of £1,376.06.
He was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay Uber £500 compensation at the rate of £50 per month.
Tekagac drove Omonoseh on five rides between June 11, 2016 and December 14, 2016, racking up £2,344.97 in rides and was paid £1,408.79 through the app.
He received a six-month sentence suspended for 18 months and was ordered to pay Uber £500 in compensation at £100 a month.
Toader was involved in five of the trips from July 30, 2016 to September 2, 2016 with trips totaling £1,157.39. He was paid around £865 by Uber in salary.
Kamlesh Sagoo, 62 (left) claimed Omonoseh approached her wearing an Uber sweatshirt and offered her the extra job and was a driver in the gang with Tekagac (right)
Transport for London decided not to renew Uber’s private hire license in September, due to ‘public safety implications’
He was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He was ordered to pay £500 in compensation to Uber at the rate of £50 a month.
Sagoo, the only female Uber driver involved in the scam, took Omonoseh on five trips between August 26 and October 18, 2016 with rides totaling up to £857.57. She benefited the least, being paid £686.06 by Uber.
She was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 18 months. The judge ordered him to pay Uber £486 in compensation at the rate of £50 a month.
Transport for London decided not to renew Uber’s private hire license in September, due to “public safety implications”.
But the carpooling app, which is available in more than 40 cities across the UK, can still operate in the capital pending an appeal from the company against the licensing decision.
Omonoseh, of Islington, Julien, of Southwark, Pasat, of Ilford, Essex, Sagoo, of Neasden, Tekagac of Enfield and Toader of Stevenage, Hertfordshire, admitted defrauding by misrepresentation.