The “Taxi King” of New York has been indicted for allegedly stealing millions in state taxes, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Wednesday.
Evgeny “Gene” Freidman, 46, who managed a fleet of more than 800 taxis, failed to hand over $5 million in 50-cent surcharges collected from cab passengers between 2012 and 2015, according to Schneiderman. Those surcharges go toward funding 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,” Schneiderman said. “No one is above the law, and my office will use every tool available to hold accountable those who cheat the system.”
Freidman faces four counts of first-degree criminal tax fraud — each a class B felony — and one count of first-degree grand larceny, also a class B felony. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
Freidman allegedly help run a scheme where he improperly filed tax returns, failed to file returns, failed to remit the tax on filed returns and filed falsified returns that underreported the number of taxable rides that were completed during that three-year period.
“This indictment exposes a blatant scheme to shortchange the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the transportation infrastructure relied on by millions of New Yorkers,” said Nonie Manion, acting commissioner of Taxation and Finance. “Hundreds of honest taxi drivers did their part in collecting the proper fare, however Mr. Freidman and his business partner are accused of manipulating tax filings to put this money right into their own pocket.”
Freidman remains in custody in Albany, with $500,000 bail.