Connect with us

Uber, lyft and other taxis

Court Disbars Queens Lawyer Linked to ‘Taxi King’

Published

on

king taxi new york

A Queens-based immigration lawyer who has made headlines for multiple reasons over the last year—from helping to oversee a taxi-management company run by a reported business associate of attorney Michael Cohen, to being convicted six months apart of different felonies—has been disbarred.

Andreea Dumitru Parcalaboiu served as the chief financial officer for a taxi management company run by Evgeny “Gene” Freidman, the so-called Taxi King who has been widely linked to Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, because Friedman’s company managed dozens of Cohen-owned taxicab medallions.

It was in her role as company CFO that Parcalaboiu was convicted of criminal tax fraud in May, when she pleaded guilty after being charged by the state Attorney General’s Office with teaming with Freidman to allegedly help steal $5 million owed to the state, in the form of 50-cent passenger surcharges attached to every cab ride in the New York metro area. Friedman pleaded guilty to tax evasion as well. Cohen, meanwhile, has publicly denied being a business partner to Freidman despite many reports saying he was.

Parcalaboiu was convicted of third-degree criminal tax fraud. In her plea, she admitted only to intentionally not remitting to the state more than $10,000 in surcharge taxes collected from cab rides.
At one point in their business partnership, Parcalaboiu had assisted Friedman with managing a fleet of more than 800 medallion cabs out of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Woodside, Queens, and Long Island City, Queens, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

An Appellate Division, Second Department panel on Wednesday said her conviction means she is automatically disbarred as of the plea date, May 31. In making the ruling, the panel rejected Parcalaboiu’s pro se counterargument.

The panel, in a terse opinion, focused only on Parcalaboiu’s May felony, but the tax fraud is not the only felony she has been convicted of. On Nov. 19, after a jury trial in Manhattan federal court, she was convicted of asylum fraud for making false statements and representations on more than 100 asylum applications.

According to a superseding indictment, other court filings and evidence presented at trial, Parcalaboiu, a native of Romania admitted to the bar in 2010, had allegedly submitted more than 100 applications in which she falsified personal narratives of applicant’s persecution, criminal histories, and travel histories; fabricated detailed personal stories of purported mistreatment of her clients; forged her clients’ signatures; and falsely notarized affidavits, among other things, the Attorney General’s Office has said.

And in the asylum case, Parcalaboiu appears likely to serve prison time. Convicted of three counts in all, she reportedly faces a maximum sentence of 10 years for asylum fraud, a maximum sentence of five years on the false statement count, and a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft.

But while facing a motion for disbarment made last year by the Attorney Grievance Committee for the Second, Eleventh, and Thirteenth Judicial Districts, each of which are part of the Second Department, Parcalaboiu argued that any disbarment based on the tax-fraud conviction would be premature.

Specifically, explained the Second Department panel in its opinion, she said that her May guilty plea before Albany County Court Judge Peter Lynch was entered into with the understanding that, at her later sentencing, the judge would determine whether she’d complied with certain conditions. If so, she’d be allowed to withdraw her felony plea and enter a guilty plea to a misdemeanor tax law violation. (If she violates the conditions, Lynch has reportedly told her she could face up to seven years in prison.)

Laying out the deal with Lynch, Parcalaboiu requested that the panel stay any disbarment proceedings until she’d been sentenced, which has yet to happen.

But panel Justices Alan Scheinkman, William Mastro, Reinaldo Rivera, Mark Dillon and Ruth Balkin dispensed of Parcalaboiu’s request in just several lines.

“She requests the Court to stay these proceedings until she has been sentenced,” the unanimous panel wrote, but “pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90(4)(a), the respondent was automatically disbarred and ceased to be an attorney upon her conviction of a felony.”

“Accordingly,” the justices continued, “the motion to strike the respondent’s name from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law, pursuant to Judiciary Law § 90(4)(b), is granted to reflect the respondent’s automatic disbarment as of May 31, 2018, and her application to stay the proceedings is denied as academic.”

Judiciary Law §90(4)(a) mandates that a New York attorney found guilty of a felony is automatically disbarred.

On Wednesday and Thursday, attempts to reach Parcalaboiu, who has been referred to in most news reports as Andreea Dumitru, were unsuccessful. A phone number listed online for both a law firm called Andreea Dumitru & Associates P.C. and for her otherwise as a practitioner, says it has been disconnected, changed or is no longer in service.

According to biography information on the firm’s website, Parcalaboiu has a background in in-house legal work in the corporate sector, and has been living in New York for nearly 20 years. It also states that she earned a law degree in Romania, and a master’s in law at Cardozo Law School in New York.

It adds that she’s a member of the American Bar Association, New York Bar Association, Queens Bar Association, American Immigration Lawyers Association, board member of the Romanian-American Chamber of Commerce, New York chapter, and National Association of Professional Women.

Source: https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2019/02/07/court-disbars-queens-lawyer-linked-to-taxi-king/?slreturn=20190108043753

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Uber, lyft and other taxis

Lyft Is Another Step Closer to Driverless Ridesharing

Published

on

By

uber lyft

Ridesharing company Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT) inched a little bit closer toward self-driving ridesharing last week when it said in a blog post that it’s adding Chrysler Pacifica hybrids to its autonomous vehicle (AV) testing fleet and opening a new self-driving vehicle test facility.

The new facility, located in East Palo Alto, California, will allow the company to increase the number of AV tests it can run. It will also let the company test how the systems do with different road configurations, including intersections, merging lanes, traffic lights, and similar challenges. The company said in the post that the new facility will let Lyft “further accelerate the speed of innovation.”

Lyft says that it’s driving four times more autonomous miles per quarter than it was just six months ago and has about 400 employees worldwide working on self-driving tech. That figure is likely to expand, considering that Lyft has more than 40 autonomous vehicle job openings listed on its website.

In addition to the new facility, Lyft said that it’s adding Pacifica minivans to its AV fleet, which is the same vehicle that Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car company, uses for its public self-driving ridesharing project and AV tests. Lyft said that, “The minivan’s size and functionality provide our team with significant flexibility to experiment with the self-driving rideshare experience.”

Why does all this matter for Lyft’s autonomous-vehicle future? Because to have a successful, public self-driving ridesharing fleet in the coming years, Lyft needs to lay the groundwork right now.

Isn’t Lyft already doing AV testing?

Lyft is, of course, already working on AV testing. The company’s original self-driving test facility has been up and running since early 2018. The company also started a partnership with Waymo earlier this year to test autonomous ridesharing. Additionally, Lyft also works with Aptiv, an AV tech company, and together they’ve created “the largest publicly available commercial self-driving program in the country” and have completed more than 75,000 rides through the partnership.

But the recent announcements by Lyft show that the company is taking its AV focus a bit further. The Pacifica minivans have been used by Waymo’s AV ridesharing program in Phoenix for more than a year now, making them a proven choice for shuttling around ride-hailing passengers. Lyft may not be ready to launch a wide-scale autonomous ridesharing service just yet, but testing out these vehicles likely means that it’s moving past earlier stages of AV testing and is now looking at how its next-generation self-driving tech can handle new vehicles.

Why this matters for Lyft

Lyft and other ride-hailing companies, including Uber, are keeping a close eye on self-driving developments and testing out the technologies themselves because it could eventually become an integral part of their business model. Research from Intel predicts that the AV ridesharing market could be worth $3.7 trillion by 2050.

Additionally, as regulations surrounding ridesharing drivers continue to increase, Lyft is likely looking to AVs to eventually replace some human drivers. Just a few months ago, the state of California introduced a bill that could pave the way for independent contractors, including Lyft’s drivers, to be reclassified as employees. If a version of the bill becomes law and other states follow California’s lead, it could significantly increase operating costs for Lyft. That could be bad news for the company, which is unprofitable right now and hoping to be in the black just two years from now.

While Lyft’s announcements may not seem all that significant right now, investors should know that these baby steps moving the company closer to AV ridesharing could have huge results in the coming years. For now, investors should be pleased that Lyft is beefing up its own AV testing. Each move the company makes now means that it’ll be much more ready for a self-driving ridesharing future.

Source www.nasdaq.com

By Chris Neiger

Continue Reading

Uber, lyft and other taxis

Uber fined $650 million by New Jersey over driver classification

Published

on

By

money

New Jersey is the latest state to say Uber’s drivers should be classified as employees rather than independent contractors. The state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development said that because of this misclassification, the ride-hailing company owes it roughly $650 million in unemployment taxes and disability insurance, according to Bloomberg Law.

The Department of Labor reportedly has been trying to get unpaid employment taxes from Uber going back as far as 2015, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg Law. It said the company owed the state $523 million in overdue taxes along with another $119 million in interest and penalties for the last four years. Uber disputes these findings.

“We are challenging this preliminary but incorrect determination,” an Uber spokesman said in an email. “Because drivers are independent contractors in New Jersey and elsewhere.”

Driver classification is an issue that government regulators have been taking a closer look at over the past year. California passed a law in September that could require Uber and other on-demand companies to reclassify their drivers as employees instead of independent contractors. The law is set to go into effect Jan. 1. New York, Oregon and Washington state have considered similar legislation.

Uber, Lyft and several other tech companies have vowed to fight the California law, collectively putting more than $90 million behind a ballot initiative that’ll take the issue to voters next November. Many drivers have said this move is a slap in the face as they struggle to earn a living wage.

Uber’s and Lyft’s business models depend on bringing aboard hundreds of thousands of independent contractors, whose labor is typically cheaper than that of employees. That’s because Uber and Lyft drivers supply and maintain their own cars and also pay for their own health care and benefits, such as sick days or overtime pay.New Jersey is the latest state to say Uber’s drivers should be classified as employees rather than independent contractors. The state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development said that because of this misclassification, the ride-hailing company owes it roughly $650 million in unemployment taxes and disability insurance, according to Bloomberg Law.

The Department of Labor reportedly has been trying to get unpaid employment taxes from Uber going back as far as 2015, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg Law. It said the company owed the state $523 million in overdue taxes along with another $119 million in interest and penalties for the last four years. Uber disputes these findings.

“We are challenging this preliminary but incorrect determination,” an Uber spokesman said in an email. “Because drivers are independent contractors in New Jersey and elsewhere.”

Driver classification is an issue that government regulators have been taking a closer look at over the past year. California passed a law in September that could require Uber and other on-demand companies to reclassify their drivers as employees instead of independent contractors. The law is set to go into effect Jan. 1. New York, Oregon and Washington state have considered similar legislation.

Uber, Lyft and several other tech companies have vowed to fight the California law, collectively putting more than $90 million behind a ballot initiative that’ll take the issue to voters next November. Many drivers have said this move is a slap in the face as they struggle to earn a living wage.

Uber’s and Lyft’s business models depend on bringing aboard hundreds of thousands of independent contractors, whose labor is typically cheaper than that of employees. That’s because Uber and Lyft drivers supply and maintain their own cars and also pay for their own health care and benefits, such as sick days or overtime pay.

 

“New Jersey is sending a message that the state’s labor laws aren’t dictated by corporations,” Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said in a statement. “It’s a stinging rebuke of the architects of the gig economy, and we hope it permeates across other sectors.”

Even if Uber’s drivers were determined to be employees rather than independent contractors, Uber said the $650 million New Jersey tax fine would be too high — particularly if it’s based on what the company has earned in the state. Uber didn’t disclose the revenue it generated in New Jersey over the past four years, but its combined revenue for all the markets where it operated in 2018 was $11.3 billion.

 

 

 

Source www.cnet.com

By Dara Kerr

Continue Reading

Uber, lyft and other taxis

Adams Clinical removes hurdle to clinical trial participation

Published

on

By

uber

How Adams Clinical increased retention and streamlined operations by switching to Uber.

One of the hardest parts of conducting a clinical trial is identifying willing participants. Once a participant is identified, strict qualifications and an often-lengthy time commitment limits who can participate, and a lack of access to transportation can make it difficult for participants to commit to and complete the study. To help improve recruitment and retention rates, Adams Clinical offered taxi rides to their participants. However, this solution became a burden on operational efficiency since taxis were only accessible to participants who lived close by and required the staff to pay at the end of each ride.

Finding the perfect transportation solution with Uber Health

To expand their transportation offering, Adams Clinical became an early beta partner with Uber in 2016. The team started using Uber’s web dashboard to arrange and pay for rides for participants with just a few clicks. Over the three years of this partnership, the switch to Uber Health simplified operational management, while reducing time spent on recruitment with increased retention rates. The easy-to-use Uber Health dashboard tracked all the rides and processed payments from one centralized interface, allowing the staff to arrange rides without the hassle of paying at the end of each trip. This flexibility, plus the extensive reach of Uber driver-partners in the Boston area, provided Adams Clinical with the transportation solution needed to successfully manage their participants in need of rides—which removed the headache from recruiting and retaining their study participants.

The result: Improved retention rates, simplified financial records, and an overall lift in team morale

By teaming with Uber Health, Adams Clinical enjoys a number of key benefits including:

• Expanded Recruitment—Using Uber Health cut down the length of enrollment by providing a larger pool to recruit from, resulting in a 5 to 10 percent reduction in recruitment time over the last two years. 

• Centralized Billing—All rides are charged to one company credit card, which is then processed at the end of each month to streamline the amount of administrative effort required.

• Reliable Service—Each ride is tracked in the dashboard so the team knows when the participant will be arriving to help keep the rest of the study on schedule.

• Improved Retention—In the first two years of the partnership with Uber, Adams Clinical estimated up to 20 percent fewer people dropped out of a trial when transportation was arranged to and from the clinic.

• Financial Accountability—Details for each ride are available in the dashboard, and can be downloaded to a spreadsheet, offering convenient management with trial-specific reporting per participant.

• Easy to Use—Using Uber Health has been easy for both staff and participants, even among populations without smartphones or passengers new to Uber.

 

by Kendall Brown

Source uber.com

Continue Reading

Trending

TransportationVoice