An Uber driver accused of raping a passenger in Dallas last week allegedly used a fake permit to outwit the company’s screening process, and would never have gotten the job if the company had checked a city database first.
The car-hailing service, which continues to insist it’s just a technology company that doesn’t employ drivers, has repeatedly been accused of half-assing its background checks and has promised to screen drivers more carefully.
In this case, the city of Dallas says Uber failed: the accused driver, 56-year-old Talal Ali Chammout, had a prior conviction for assault and also spent six years in prison on federal weapons charges after he allegedly tried to buy stolen government weapons and equipment from a federal witness.
He took a plea deal after an FBI raid found 40 guns at his business, the Dallas Morning News reports. He was released in 2012.
That means Chammout would have been ineligible for a driving permit from the city of Dallas, which won’t issue the documents to felons until five years after their release. City officials say he got around the restriction by using another driver’s permit number, which had expired in 2010. Although a check of a city database—to which Uber and other ride-sharing companies have access—would have turned up the discrepancy, Uber apparently didn’t look.
On July 25, Chammout allegedly dropped off a passenger in Dallas’s West Oak Cliff, then followed her inside her home and raped her. He’s currently being held on $100,000 bail and hasn’t made any public statement.