New York – An Indian American was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday (June 24) for kidnapping and wire fraud, according to an announcement by Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Attorney Berman announced that 25 year old Harbir Parmar, of Howard Beach, New York, was sentenced in White Plains federal court after he pled guilty on March 11, 2019, before US District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti who imposed the sentence.
Commenting on the sentencing, Berman said: “Many people rely on rideshare apps to navigate New York safely. But when a woman hailed a ridesharing car driven by Harbir Parmar, her ride home took a turn for the worst. With Parmar’s lengthy prison term, he will no longer be able to take advantage of ridesharing customers.”
According to the indictment and statements made during the plea proceedings, the following details emerged. On February 21, 2018, Parmar, who worked as a driver for a ridesharing company (“Company-1”), picked up an individual (“Victim-1”) in New York, 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.
In addition to the prison term, Parmar was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $3,642 in restitution and forfeiture.