Onome Omonoseh, 19, created fake customer accounts with details of stolen credit cards from the dark web, then booked long journeys through the app.
Uber is thought to have lost up to £10,000 while Omonoseh made at least £1,760 as the “coordinator” of the scheme, although the prosecution accepted the figure was “conservative”.
Drivers Michael Julien, 50, Dan-Alexandru Pasat, 29, Kamlesh Sagoo, 62, Ibrahim Tekagac, 35, and 32-year-old Mihai Toader took Omonoseh on at least 44 rides 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 – creating bogus Uber customer accounts on the app and making bogus trips for which drivers were paid, and then a cut was passed to Mr Ononoseh for organising the frauds.
“The details were taken from a website which sells credit card for fraudulent and criminal purposes.
“GPS location showed the mobile phone handset did not always travel with the drivers and in effect the fraud by Mr Omonoseh and the co-defendants was in collaboration.”
Omonoseh claimed he did not have the “wherewithal” to organise the fraud and said a group of young men from Islington ran it.
Sagoo claimed Omonoseh approached her wearing an Uber sweatshirt and offered her the extra work, which she initially believed was legitimate and not part of a larger fraud.
She thought 250 others were doing the same work and was the “victim of her own naivety”, the court heard.
Sentencing, Judge Peter Ader said: “The total fraud was probably in the region of some £10,000. The prosecution put that this was a high culpability because it was a sophisticated type of offence. It required quite a bit of planning.
“Sometimes there was no one in the car – you were claiming for a trip that didn’t involve taking a customer – and it was done over a long period of time.
“That was an abuse of trust that Uber placed in each of you as a driver and a leading role ascribed by you because without you it could never and would never have happened.”
- Omonoseh, of Islington, north London, was sentenced to eight months in a Young Offenders’ Institution.
- Julien, of Southwark, south London, was jailed for eight months.
- Pasat, of Ilford, Essex, was handed a six-month sentence suspended for 18 months.
- Sagoo, of Neasden, north west London, was handed a four-month sentence suspended for 18 months.
- Tekagac, of Enfield, north London, was handed a six-month sentence suspended for 18 months.
- Toader, of Stevenage, Hertfordshire, was handed a six-month sentence suspended for 18 months.
Each of the six defendants admitted fraud by false representation.