Asking if Uber is in trouble is becoming like asking if a bear you-know-whats in the woods.

The difference, of course, is that bears typically don’t get investigated by the United States Department of Justice.

But Uber, the popular ride-hailing service, now is facing a criminal investigation conducted by the justice department for using a software tool that helped its drivers avoid government officials, Reuters reported Friday. Dubbed “Greyball,” the software helped Uber identify transportation regulators in areas where its service hadn’t yet been approved.

The company has acknowledged using the tool, and prohibited further use of it after a New York Times report surfaced in March. Neither the extent of the investigation, nor the chances of anyone being charged, are clear so far, as the investigation still is in its early stages, according to Reuters.

The news deals yet another blow of negative publicity to a company that’s starting to become synonymous with it.

Be it secret programs to lure drivers from competitors, sexual harassment lawsuits, accusations of intellectual property theft, or sometimes just being downright unlikable, Uber is mired in a public-relations nightmare that it can’t seem to wake up from.

And although consumers continue to stand by the company’s service, the recent turmoil has cost Uber some of its top executives.

Thumbnail photo via Flickr/Elliott Brown