A Florida resident was arrested for allegedly scamming six Queens-based investors out of nearly $500,000 for a phony ride-share car-buying scheme between November 2016 and August 2017, prosecutors announced on Nov. 7.
Walid Eyada, 50, of Miami, was arraigned before the Queens Criminal Court on Nov. 6 on charges of second- and third-degree grand larceny, second- and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property and first-degree scheme to defraud.
“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 District Attorney John M. Ryan. “The defendant is accused of bilking at least six 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 seriously prison time for this alleged scam.”
According to charges, in January 2017 Eyada allegedly approached a business owner about a potential investment and offered to purchase vehicles at auction to be used as Uber ride-share cars. Eyada allegedly told the investor that receive a return of approximately $1,200 each month for each vehicle that he purchased. The investor gave Eyada $237,000 for 35 cars, and had Eyada allegedly had the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) for each vehicle and told the investor he “owned” the cars. Eyada, who operated a company called Q-8 Realty, was listed on paperwork as the “rentor” or “leasee.”
Eyada allegedly paid the investor as promised for several months; however, the checks either stopped coming or began to bounce in the summer of 2017. Eyada then allegedly could not be found by August 2017.
An investigator examined DMV records that allegedly showed the vehicles with the VINs the investor was given had never been registered or titled to the investor. In many instances, the investigator found that several VINs allegedly matched cars that were owned by different investors.
Charges say that Eyada allegedly offered the same deal in his scheme to at least five other investors. One victim thought he was purchasing 17 Toyota Camrys for the $136,000 he gave Eyada; however, none of the designated VINs were ever registered to that investor either and the vehicles were actually owned by other individuals or corporations, according to DMV records.
Eyada was granted supervised released and ordered to return to court on Dec. 10. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.