A New York Uber driver is accused of kidnapping a woman he was supposed to be driving to her home in New York and instead traveling toward Massachusetts before leaving the victim on the side of Interstate 95 in Connecticut.
Harbir Parmar, 24, of Howard Beach, New York, faces federal charges of kidnapping and of wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Prosecutors allege that Parmar, while working as driver for Uber on Feb. 21, picked up a woman in Manhattan, and rather than taking her to her desired destination in White Plains, New York, changed her destination in the company’s app to Boston, Mass.
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The victim, who fell asleep during the ride, told authorities that she woke up in the car with Parmar in the backseat with her, his hand under her shirt and touching her breast. When the victim woke up, Parmar got back into the driver’s seat and continued the trip. When the victim asked to be taken to White Plains or a police station, Parmar refused and dropped her off on the side of I-95 in Branford, Conn., prosecutors said.
“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,” wrote U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman in a statement.
Investigators said that from December 2016 through February 2018, Parmar sent false information about customer destinations at least 11 times. He also sent false information about cleaning fees for his vehicle at least three times. Parmar’s actions led to over $3,600 in improper charges to customers, officials said.
Uber released the following statement on the situation:
"What’s been reported is horrible and something no person should go through. As soon as we became aware, we immediately removed this individual's access to the platform. We have fully cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to support their investigation."
Authorities believe there may be more victims. Anyone with information or a complaint can contact FBI’s Westchester Resident Agency at 914-925-3888.