An Uber ride in Washington on April 8, 2015.
An Uber ride in Washington on April 8, 2015. Andrew Harrer—2015 Bloomberg Finance LP

Prosecutors: Uber Hired Drivers With Criminal Records

Updated: Aug 20, 2015 9:33 AM ET | Originally published: Aug 19, 2015

Uber hired 25 drivers in Los Angeles and San Francisco with criminal records ranging from property crimes, sex offenses and murder, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

“We are learning increasingly that a lot of the information that Uber has been presenting the consumer has been false and misleading,” George Gascon, district attorney of San Francisco, where Uber is based, said at a news conference, the New York Times reports.

The comments came after the attorneys announced they were filing a 62-page amended complaint to the original civil suit, filed in December, that claims the ride-hailing app has knowingly continued to mislead consumers about the thoroughness of its screening methods.

Gascon, who has led investigations, noted that the records Uber uses to check applicants for sex offenses are missing 30,000 individuals whose convictions occurred more than seven years ago, allowing them to escape the company's notice.

Uber has said in the past that the limited scope of its background-check providers is required by some state laws, and is in fact a way for the company to help rehabilitate offenders. “We understand that there are strongly held views about the rehabilitation of offenders,” Uber said in a blog post dated July 15. “But the California state legislature decided — after a healthy debate — that seven years strikes the right balance between protecting the public while also giving ex-offenders the chance to work and rehabilitate themselves.”

Uber has noted that Live Scan, another method of vetting drivers favored by many of the company's critics, is not subject to seven-year limits. The prosecutors' complaint asserts that a Live Scan system would have been more effective.

Uber said it disagreed that the screening process used by taxi drivers was better than its own checks. "The reality is that neither is 100% foolproof—as we discovered last year when putting hundreds of people through our checks who identified themselves as taxi drivers," Uber told TIME in a statement. "That process uncovered convictions for DUI, rape, attempted murder, child abuse and violence." Uber also noted that its rival Lyft had settled a similar case last year for $250,000.

While traditional cabs are required to use Live Scan, Uber is not, but prosecutors believe that the company has oversold the effectiveness of its own checking methods.

[New York Times]

See Uber Protests From Around the World

French Taxi drivers burn tires as they protest in the southern city of Marseille on June 25, 2015 as they demonstrate against UberPOP, a popular taxi app that is facing fierce opposition from traditional cabs.
French Taxi drivers burn tires as they protest in the southern city of Marseille on June 25, 2015 as they demonstrate against UberPOP, a popular taxi app that is facing fierce opposition from traditional cabs.Anne-Christine Poujoulat—AFP/Getty Images
French Taxi drivers burn tires as they protest in the southern city of Marseille on June 25, 2015 as they demonstrate against UberPOP, a popular taxi app that is facing fierce opposition from traditional cabs.
French taxi drivers protest Uber
Hundreds of taxi drivers gather next to the Olympia Stadium to protest ride-sharing apps on June 11, 2014 in Berlin.
A demonstrator kicks a car, suspected of being a private taxi during a 24 hour taxi strike and protest in Madrid on June 11, 2014.
A taxi driver listens to speeches by his colleagues, during an Europe-wide protest of licensed taxi drivers against taxi hailing apps that are feared to flush unregulated private drivers into the market, in front of the Olympic stadium in Berlin on June 11, 2014.
Taxi drivers hold a banner during a protest in Barcelona on June 11, 2014.
London taxi's line up on The Mall during a protest against a new smart phone app, 'Uber' on June 11, 2014 in London.
Taxi drivers park their cars and honk the horn in protest on Pennsylvania Avenue, bringing street traffic to a stop as they demand an end to ride sharing services such as Uber X and Lyft on June 25, 2014, in Washington.
An Italian taxi driver distributes leaflets reading "Don't take an illegal taxi, take a white regular taxi" during a protest on June 11, 2014 in Rome.
Taxis drivers block a highway outside Paris, near Roissy on June 11, 2014, as they take part in a demonstration to protest the growing number of minicabs, known in France as Voitures de Tourisme avec Chauffeurs (VTC).
French Taxi drivers burn tires as they protest in the southern city of Marseille on June 25, 2015 as they demonstrate ag
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Anne-Christine Poujoulat—AFP/Getty Images
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