A 24-year-old ride-share driver is facing charges after allegedly picking up a Westchester woman, kidnapping her and sexually assaulting her in his car before ditching her on the side of I-95 in Connecticut.
Harbir Parmar of Howard Beach in Queens has been charged with kidnapping and wire-fraud charges dating back to an incident in February, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman announced.
According to the indictment, on Feb. 21, a woman ordered a vehicle through Parmar’s ride-sharing company to pick her up in Manhattan and take her to her home in White Plains. She was picked up by Parmar at approximately 11:30 p.m. and promptly fell asleep.
While she was asleep in the backseat, Parmar allegedly changed the destination in his computer’s GPS to Boston, and proceeded to drive toward Massachusetts. When the woman woke up, Parmar was allegedly in the back seat with her, with his hand under her shirt, touching the top of her breast.
When she woke up, Parmar proceeded back to the driver’s seat and continued driving. The woman asked to be taken to White Plains or to a nearby police station, but Parmar refused, allegedly dropping her off on the side of I-95 in Branford, Conn. The woman then went to a nearby convenience store for assistance and law enforcement was called.
“As alleged, Harbir Parmar was hired to transport a woman from Manhattan to her home in White Plains,” Berman said. “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.”
In addition to the alleged assault and kidnapping, the indictment also alleges that from December 2016 through February this year, Parmar sent false information about the destination of his company’s customers through the company’s mobile app nearly a dozen times.
He also 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.
Berman said that in those instances, customers of the ride-sharing company filed complaints about being overcharged, resulting in more than $3,600 in improper charges to customers.
Parmar, 24, was 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 up to 20 years in prison.
“The victim, in this case, utilized a ride-sharing service trusting that her driver would provide a safe ride home,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr., said. “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,
Officials say there may be more victims of this alleged conduct. Anyone with information has been asked to contact the FBI’s Westchester Resident Agency by calling (914) 925-3888.
“ The criminal acts outlined in this complaint are reprehensible. This individual’s behavior goes far beyond ride-sharing companies’ efforts to revise their ethics codes and put stronger emphasis on background checks for their drivers,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said in a statement. “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.”
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