‘Taxi King’ of New York City Failed to Pay State $5M in Surcharges, Attorney General Says
June 8, 2017
As published by The Daily News, on June 7, 2017.
The once-mighty Taxi King of New York faces charges of shortchanging the state $5 million in revenue from his yellow cab empire.
Evgeny Freidman, who commanded a fleet of more than 800 taxis, failed to hand over $5 million in 50-cent surcharges collected from riders between 2012 and 2015, the state attorney general alleged.
Each taxi trip includes a 50-cent surcharge added to the fare, which must go to the state Tax Department. That money is meant to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
“The ‘Taxi King’ built his empire by stealing from New Yorkers — pocketing money that should have instead been invested in our transportation system,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is prosecuting Freidman. “No one is above the law, and my office will use every tool available to hold accountable those who cheat the system.”
Freidman was slammed with four counts of criminal tax fraud and a count of grand larceny. Each felony charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
Freidman was arraigned in Albany County Court Monday at 9:27 a.m., with bail set at $500,000. He pleaded not guilty, according to a court clerk.
The indictment follows a trail of legal woes for Freidman.
A bankruptcy judge last year forced him to hand over dozens of his taxi medallions after he defaulted on loans from Citibank.
City marshals also removed Freidman from his Chelsea office on 10th Ave. in August after he stiffed his landlord on $77,000 in rent, according to court documents. The landlord’s lawyer said Friedman actually owed $170,000 in back rent.