Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft might have made it easier for people to enjoy a night out without worrying about driving or finding a parking space. However, some people worried that there is also the possibility for fraud. A North Dakota man was recently arrested and faces criminal charges for theft over what some people are calling vomit fraud.
The charges stem from two incidents that occurred during the summer of 2018, at which time the man was driving for both Uber and Lyft. In one incident, a Lyft rider used the app to secure a ride home with the defendant driver. He was initially billed only $9.01 but was later slammed with an additional $150 for damages to the driver's vehicle. The passenger's wife contacted Lyft to report a potentially false claim, but she was told that the driver had submitted evidence for the damages, including photographs and personal anecdotes.
However, further investigation into the matter revealed that the evidence was perhaps not as valid as it first seemed. According to reports, after dropping off his passenger, the driver purchased food at a convenience store, tossed it onto his vehicle and then snapped pictures. Security footage from the convenience store apparently backed up this claim, and Lyft refunded the charge for damage.
The criminal charges for theft are misdemeanors, and if convicted, he could potentially face fines up to $2,000 and 60 days behind bars. Even if a defendant thinks these are seemingly minor consequences compared with more serious charges -- such as felonies -- he or she should still take the matter of criminal defense seriously, as two months in jail and out of work can have profoundly negative consequences on his or her future. By taking a careful and timely approach under the guidance of an experienced counsel, most North Dakota defendants can craft a solid defense.