Driver Of Ridesharing Service Charged In White Plains Federal Court With Kidnapping And Wire Fraud
New York, NY: FBI reports 10.16.2018 – Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of a complaint charging HARBIR PARMAR with kidnapping and wire fraud. PARMAR will be presented in White Plains federal court this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As alleged, Harbir Parmar was hired to transport a woman from Manhattan to her home in White Plains. Instead, Parmar kidnapped, terrorized, and assaulted the woman before dumping her on the side of an interstate. No one – man or woman – should fear such an attack when they simply hire a car service.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “The victim in this case utilized a ride sharing service trusting that her driver would provide a safe ride home. Instead, as we allege today, Harbir Parmar made an outrageous choice, deciding to unlawfully take advantage of his passenger at a moment of vulnerability for his own selfish motives. This kind of behavior should never be tolerated, and the FBI will continue to work tirelessly with our partners to bring justice to those who would shamelessly and illegally take advantage of others.”
Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: “The criminal acts outlined in this complaint are reprehensible. This individual’s behavior goes far beyond ridesharing companies’ efforts to revise their ethics codes and put stronger emphasis on background checks for their drivers. The people we serve deserve much better. These charges are appalling, and such behavior will never be tolerated by the NYPD or any of our local, state, or federal law enforcement partners.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed today:
On February 21, 2018, an individual (“Victim-1”) ordered a vehicle through a ridesharing company (“Company-1”) to pick her up in Manhattan, New York, and take her to White Plains, New York, where she resided at the time. At approximately 11:30 p.m., Victim-1 entered a vehicle driven by PARMAR, who was licensed to use Company-1’s software as a driver. Victim-1 fell asleep in the vehicle. PARMAR changed Victim-1’s destination in Company-1’s mobile application to an address in Boston, Massachusetts and proceeded to drive toward Massachusetts. When Victim-1 awoke, the vehicle was on the side of the road and PARMAR was in the backseat of the vehicle with her, with his hand under her shirt touching the top of her breast. Upon Victim-1 waking up, PARMAR got back into the driver’s seat and continued driving. Victim-1 requested that she be taken to White Plains or to the police station but PARMAR refused. PARMAR instead dropped Victim-1 off on the side of I-95 in Branford, Connecticut. Victim-1 went to a nearby convenience store where she sought assistance.
In addition, from December 2016 through February 2018, PARMAR, sent allegedly false information about the destinations of Company-1’s customers through Company-1’s mobile application on at least 11 occasions. He also sent false information about the application of a cleaning fee to be applied to the accounts of Company-1’s customers on at least three occasions. In these instances, customers of Company-1 filed complaints with Company-1 about being overcharged for their rides. These instances have resulted in over $3,600 in improper charges to the accounts of Company-1’s customers.
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PARMAR, 24, of Howard Beach, New York, is charged with one count of kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
There may be more victims of this alleged conduct. If you have information to report, contact the FBI’s Westchester Resident Agency at (914) 925-3888.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of FBI’s Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force, which is comprised of investigators from the FBI, U.S. Probation Office, New York State police, Westchester County Department of Public Safety, Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the New York City Police Department, Yonkers Police Department, Greenburgh Police Department, Mount Vernon Police Department and the Peekskill Police Department.
The case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorney Jamie Bagliebter is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.