The operators of a New York City taxi fleet allegedly cheated the state and beleaguered MTA out of millions of dollars in cab surcharges, officials said.
Evgeny A. Freidman and Andreea Dumitru of Taxiclub Management Inc. were arrested Wednesday and charged with four counts of first-degree criminal tax fraud and one count of first-degree grand larceny for failing turn over $5 million in 50 cent surcharges that were to go to the MTA, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced.
The alleged theft occurred between 2012 and 2015, and the pair are accused of improperly filing or failing to file returns, filing false returns and not remitting the surcharge known as the “MTA Tax.”
If convicted, Taxiclub Management Inc. CEO Freidman, aka the “Taxi King,” and Dumitru, the company’s chief financial officer, face up to 25 years in prison.
“The ‘Taxi King’ built his empire by stealing from New Yorkers — pocketing money that should have instead been invested in our transportation system,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
During the time of the alleged theft, Taxiclub Management Inc. held more than 800 medallion taxicabs in Manhattan, Woodside, Brooklyn and Long Island City.
In a separate investigation in 2013, the AG’s Labor Bureau ordered Freidman and four of his medallion management agencies to pay more than $275,000 in fines and damages for failing to properly pay drivers. The Manhattan resident also had to hire a third-party monitor to make sure he was in compliance with the city’s Taxi & Limousine Commission on driver-related issues.
Freidman and Dumitru of Sunnyside, Queens, were arraigned in Albany County Court Wednesday. Their bail was set at $500,000 and $400,000, respectively.