Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Driver Of Ridesharing Service Pleads Guilty In White Plains Federal Court To Kidnapping A Rider

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that HARBIR PARMAR pled guilty in White Plains federal court to kidnapping and wire fraud.  PARMAR was arrested on October 16, 2018, and pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Last year, Harbir Parmar took advantage of a vulnerable woman who utilized a ridesharing service by kidnapping and terrorizing her.  In addition, he charged many of his ridesharing customers with fraudulent fees.  Today, he admitted his guilt in open court, and will now be held accountable for his brazen crimes.” 

According to the Indictment and statements made during today’s plea proceedings:

On February 21, 2018, PARMAR, who worked as a driver for a ridesharing company (“Company-1”), picked up an individual (“Victim-1”) in Manhattan, New York, who sought to be driven to White Plains, New York.  After Victim-1 fell asleep in the backseat of 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 that location.  When Victim-1 awoke, the vehicle was in Connecticut.  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 false information about the destinations of Company-1’s customers through Company-1’s mobile application on several occasions.  At times, he also sent false information about the application of a cleaning fee to be applied to the accounts of Company-1’s customers.  In these instances, customers of Company-1 filed complaints with Company-1 about being overcharged for their rides.  These instances have resulted in thousands of dollars in improper charges to the accounts of Company-1’s customers.

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PARMAR, 25, of Howard Beach, New York, pled guilty to 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.

PARMAR is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti Honorable Vincent L. Briccetti on June 24, 2019.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of FBI’s Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force, which comprises 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.

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