Connect with us

Uber, lyft and other taxis

New York’s Taxi King Pleads Guilty To Tax Fraud

Published

on

new york taxi

New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood and Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion have announced that New York’s so-called “Taxi King” has pleaded guilty to tax fraud. Evgeny “Gene” Freidman, a Russian immigrant, pleaded guilty to a single count of criminal tax fraud, agreeing that he failed to remit $5 million in MTA surcharge taxes between 2012 and 2015.

“Today, the ‘Taxi King’ admitted that he built his empire by stealing from New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Underwood. “Freidman pocketed money that should have provided much-needed investment in our transit system—and he’ll now have to pay back every cent. Our office will continue to hold accountable those who cheat the system.”

In 2017, the Attorney General’s office filed an indictment charging Freidman and his codefendant and reported business partner, Andreea Dumitru, with four counts of criminal tax fraud in the first degree and one count of grand larceny in the first degree.
Prior to the indictment, the tax dispute involving Freidman had been characterized as a civil dispute. That’s not unusual in the tax world. When taxes may be owed, a taxpayer generally receives an assessment or request for an exam. Sometimes the inquiry grows, but remains civil; the move to criminal charges typically occurs when conduct is considered willful or if the amount involved represents a significant underpayment.

According to court documents, Freidman’s taxi company, TaxiclubManagement, Inc., managed four taxicab medallion management agencies in the state of New York. As a result of his influence in the taxi business, Freidman also owned or managed a fleet of over 260 medallion taxicabs and leased hundreds of additional medallions from other owners. Some of those medallions were owned by Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney. According to the New York Times, Freidman was “Cohen’s partner in the taxi business for years.” The pair was so close that Cohen reportedly managed Freidman’s cabs after city regulators barred the Taxi King from managing his taxi medallions last year.

The purpose of a taxi medallion is to regulate—and in many cases, limit–the number of taxis allowed to operate inside a particular border. The name refers to the metal plate that’s physically affixed to cabs, and in some areas, like New York and Philadelphia, taxis may not operate without them. That makes them extremely valuable. Depending on the location, a single medallion could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

As part of the cost of a taxi ride, most passengers pay a 50 cent state tax, called the MTA tax. The tax is automatically included with the fare. As with sales tax, those who are in charge of collecting the tax are also responsible for reporting and delivering the tax to the proper authorities.

The indictment alleged that instead of paying the tax over to the state for rides taken in cabs that Freidman managed, he and Dumitru pocketed the money. To cover their actions, the pair allegedly filed bogus returns or failed to file tax returns, and underreported the number of taxi rides to the state. The state claimed that by deceiving the tax authorities, Freidman and Dumitru were able to sock away nearly $5 million that had been collected from passengers.

As part of his plea, Freidman admitted that he received MTA taxes from passengers and intentionally failed to pay those taxes to the state. Within 30 days of his plea, Freidman must pay restitution in the amount of $500,000. Prior to sentencing, he must pay an additional $500,000 restitution and agree to cover all MTA tax liabilities owed from January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2015.

Under the terms of the agreement, Freidman will not go to prison so long as he pays what he owes and otherwise completes the terms of his plea. The Attorney General declared that his sentence will be adjourned, meaning that he will be on supervised release while he makes restitution. If Freidman satisfies the terms of the agreement, he will be sentenced to probation.

Some media outlets are reporting that the plea agreement requires Freidman to cooperate in an ongoing investigation, prompting allegations that Freidman may turn on Cohen. However, the Attorney General’s office has not confirmed any such requirement as part of the plea.

Freidman’s lawyer did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The charges against Andreea Dumitru remain pending.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2018/05/22/new-yorks-taxi-king-pleads-guilty-to-tax-fraud/#153e71e6fde8

Uber, lyft and other taxis

Here’s Why I No Longer Feel Comfortable Taking Ubers With Male Drivers

Published

on

By

female driver uber

I remember feeling relieved when ride-sharing apps hit the market a few years ago. When I first moved to New York in early 2012, fighting to get a cab back to Brooklyn from Manhattan was the ultimate hustle. First of all, hailing a cab in and of itself was its own obstacle. I learned from native New Yorkers that a lot of NYC taxi drivers hated picking up Black folk because they feared they wouldn’t pay the tab. Many yellow cab drivers would also not pick up Black people because they didn’t want to travel to the outer boroughs from beloved Manhattan. There were times I successfully grabbed a cab, and when I got inside and told them I was headed to Brooklyn the driver would illegally ask me to leave. It was a mess.

So when I learned of Uber and downloaded the app, I relished in its features. The glory of typing in my address (no more struggling with directions) and having a car pick me up right at my location had me lounging in convenience bliss.

However, the benefits of the handy app are quickly becoming outweighed by the current the fears I have when I decide to jump into a ride.

I’ve started to utilize the UBERPOOL feature more often recently because, well, I don’t have the money for my own ride. I noticed that the creepy vibe I get from male drivers began when I started sitting up front because fellow passengers were in the back. Somehow, sitting in the back gave me some sort of theoretical barrier between myself and the driver. But sitting in the front of a stranger’s personal car, with a man I don’t know, instantly felt uncomfortable.

When I was the last drop off in an UBERPOOL and sitting in the passengers seat, I noticed a lot of male drivers would start making comments about my physical appearance, my attire, or even go as far as asking for my number.
When we stop at red lights they would go “You’re just so beautiful, I don’t know what to do.” Or “I wish I had a lady like you.” Or “Do you have a boyfriend?”

Fortunately, my experiences have stopped at just harrasing comments, but I couldn’t help but feel fearful and vulnerable as I sat in the dark in a car with a man who has total control over our destination. I’ve heard other horror stories from my girlfriends, from being sent unsolicited d*ck pics, to someone reaching out to touch them. Hell, I even heard a story of a woman being locked in the car by an Uber drive for refusing to give him her number.

These personal anecdotes are compounded by actual data that shows 103 Uber drivers in the country have been accused of a form of sexual assault in the past four years, according to CNN.

While the app’s execs insist they run background checks and eliminate candidates who have serious criminal convictions, it’s clear that there needs to be a deeper vetting process into who they allow to drive around passengers. I’ve noticed little changes on the app like prompts that ask “are you ok” if your car has been stalled too long, or allowing passengers to designate an emergency contact, but I am having a hard time seeing how those small modifications would actually help in a crisis. We deserve more.
In the gap between fear and progress, I am hopeful female driver/female passenger only apps, like one being used in New Delhi, India, will pave the way for similar models in the US.

Shailja Mittal created ride sharing service Koala Kabs because she didn’t want her daughter riding alone in the car with male drivers. In Pakistan, there is a similar female catering car service called Pink Taxi. The option to opt out of being driven by men is definitely something I would buy into, whatever the cost. Nothing is more valuable than my safety. My life.

Source: https://madamenoire.com/1051874/heres-why-i-no-longer-feel-comfortable-taking-ubers-with-male-drivers/

Continue Reading

Uber, lyft and other taxis

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

Published

on

By

uber lyft taxi

Rideshare drivers in New York City may soon be covered by a new rule that guarantees they get paid a minimum wage equivalent of $17.22 per hour, Fast Company reports.

Uber, Lyft, Juno, Via, and other rideshare companies operating in New York City currently have more than 80,000 drivers. Drivers for Uber and Lyft, in particular, have been embroiled in controversies with taxi drivers, the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), and their own companies.
Previous issues between drivers and rideshare companies centered on expense reimbursement and the drivers’ employee versus independent contractor status. The TLC’s set of proposed rules address both issues.

The line between employee and contractor status is often blurred in the U.S., despite the Internal Revenue Service’s 20 Factor Test to determine the difference. In general, compensation and expense reimbursement are contractual items not covered by federal, state, or municipal employee laws.

The TLC‘s proposed rule results from efforts by the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), a New York City nonprofit organization. The Guild has been working for two years on behalf of rideshare drivers to convince the TLC to change the compensation rules for rideshare companies and drivers. The first win in the IDG’s campaign was the TLC’s support for driver pay in line with the city’s $15 per hour minimum wage.

Pushback from drivers on the $15 hourly rate focused on driver expenses. Uber, Lyft, and other companies do not reimburse drivers for vehicle expenses including fuel and maintenance nor do they pay for mileage or time spent driving to passenger pick-up location or when drivers return from long trips after passenger drop off.

The TLC’s proposed $17.22 hourly minimum compensation plan adds $2.22 to the area’s $15 per hour minimum wage to account for driver expenses and unpaid travel associated with paid rides.

The TLC also proposed another rule that could benefit existing drivers and reduce traffic on city streets. A one-year moratorium on new licenses for all types of for-hire vehicle drivers would pause the addition of new drivers who respond to rideshare companies’ incessant recruiting efforts on New York City streets. When new drivers try the business, even if they quit after a short time, the extra cars add to congestion and diminish opportunities to give rides to established drivers.

Fast Company reported that Uber and Lyft both pushed back against the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s new rules. The companies argue that the proposed regulations would result in lower driver compensation and increased rider fares.

Source: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/nyc-minimum-wage-uber-lyft/

Continue Reading

Uber, lyft and other taxis

Taxi driver dies after setting himself on fire to protest carpool app

Published

on

By

app

A South Korean taxi driver set himself on fire and died Monday to protest a carpooling service proposed by a company that operates the country’s most popular chat app.

The 57-year-old driver doused himself in a flammable liquid and then lit his clothing while sitting in a taxi near parliament, police and the fire department said.

Unionized taxi drivers have held rallies in the capital, Seoul, to protest the carpooling app proposed by Kakao Mobility, which they say threatens their jobs.

Kakao Mobility, the transportation service arm of top mobile messenger operator Kakao Corp., said Friday it was testing the carpooling app despite opposition from taxi drivers who want the government to refuse permission for the service.

“We are still in the middle of a tug-of-war against the government to stop the carpool service,” said an official at the Korea National Joint Conference of Taxi Association.

A spokeswoman for Kakao Mobility said the company extended its sympathies to the family of the taxi driver.

“We feel sorry and sad and express our condolences,” the spokeswoman said. She declined further comment.

The transport ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Source: https://nypost.com/2018/12/10/taxi-driver-dies-after-setting-himself-on-fire-to-protest-carpool-app/

Continue Reading

Trending

TransportationVoice