Miami man faces 15 years in prison for alleged Uber investment scam

Eagle  file photo by David Brand.

Eagle file photo by David Brand.

By Jonathan Sperling

A Miami man who allegedly swindled almost half a million dollars from ride-share investors in Queens was charged in Queens Criminal Court on Thursday.

Walid Eyada, 50, was charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property and fraud for allegedly offering business owners the option to purchase vehicles at auction to be used as

Uber cars. After each car was purchased, Eyada allegedly assured the investor that they would receive a return of approximately $1,200 each month for each vehicle from ride-share proceeds. The deal went well for several months, but in the summer of 2017 the checks either stopped coming or began to bounce.

In one instance, an investor allegedly gave Eyada $237,000 for 35 cars. Eyada had VINs for each vehicle and told the investor he “owned” the cars.

But investigators examined DMV records and allegedly found that the vehicles with the VIN numbers the investors were given had allegedly never been registered or titled to the investor. In many instances, the investigator discovered that several VIN numbers allegedly matched cars that were owned by different investors.

After the checks began bouncing, Eyada fled the country, according to prosecutors.

“The defendant in this case allegedly took advantage of the growing ride-share industry to offer potential investors a great deal - ante up cash for cars and get hefty sums of money back every month,” said Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan in a statement.

“The defendant is accused of bilking at least 6 individuals out of nearly $500,000. In many instances zero cars were purchased on behalf of investors. The defendant then left the country. He is now back and in custody and facing serious prison time for this alleged scam.”

At least six different investors were victims of Eyada’s alleged scam, prosecutors said. 

Queens Criminal Court Judge Jerry Iannece granted Eyada supervised release and ordered him to return to court on Dec. 10. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.