Ride-sharing service driver of Indian origin, charged with kidnapping, wire fraud

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Justice Department logo. (Photo: Justice.gov)

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and officials from the FBI, and New York Police Department, announced today the unsealing of a complaint charging Harbir Parmar with kidnapping and wire fraud.  He was scheduled to be arraigned in White Plains federal court this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy.

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 charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and Parmar is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

“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,” U.S. Attorney Berman is quoted saying in a press release from his office.

According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed today, the events transpired on Feb. 1 this year, when a woman ordered a vehicle through a ridesharing company to pick her up in Manhattan and take her to White Plains, New York, where she lived at the time.  When she fell asleep during the ride, prosecutors say Parmar allegedly redirected the ride to Boston, Massachusetts and stopped the car on the side of the road and tried to assault her. When the victim woke up and allegedly found him on top of her, Parmar went back to the front and continued driving. When the woman asked to be taken to White Plains or the police station, Parmar allegedly dropped her on the side of the road on I-95, at Branford, Connecticut, and left.

Prosecutors say they also found Parmar had from Dec. 2016 to Feb. 2018, allegedly sent false information about the destinations of the company’s customers through its mobile application on at least 11 occasions.   He also said to have allegedly sent false information about the application of a cleaning fee to be applied to the accounts of the company’s customers on at least three occasions.

The case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorney Jamie Bagliebter is in charge of the prosecution. There may be more victims of this alleged conduct, according to the press release and the U.S. Attorney’s Office is urging that anyone with information to report, should contact the FBI’s Westchester Resident Agency at (914) 925-3888.

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