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New York City - Officials: Cabbie Took Public For $40,000 Ride

Published on: March 1, 2010 07:14 PM
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Wasim Khalid Cheema may have masterminded the largest rip-off in TLC history.Wasim Khalid Cheema may have masterminded the largest rip-off in TLC history.

New York City - A crooked cabbie stole an estimated $40,000 by overcharging passengers in what appears to be the city’s biggest rider rip-off ever, authorities said Monday.

Wasim Khalid Cheema manipulated the meter in his yellow cab to inflate fares paid by unsuspecting passengers, authorities said.

A Taxi and Limousine Commission review of trip data concluded Cheema ripped off 574 riders in a single month, officials said.

Officials are still trying to determine the full scope of Cheema’s alleged thievery, which an administrative law judge called “reprehensible.”

“Members of the riding public must be able to trust that taxicab drivers will not only transport them safely, but they will be honest in their dealings with them,” Law Judge Alessandra Zorgniotti wrote in a decision concluding Cheema repeatedly pilfered from passengers.

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Cheema, 22, of Brooklyn, skipped a January hearing and couldn’t be reached Monday.

TLC officials said they were unaware of any other cabbie ripping off so many passengers.

Asked if Cheema could face criminal prosecution a TLC spokesman called it “an active case” and said no further details were available.

Cabbies manually select the appropriate rate of fare by pushing a button on the meter - choosing from rates for trips within the city, trips to Newark and Kennedy airports, and for jaunts across the Nassau and Westchester borders.

Cheema switched to the out-of-city rate on trips that stayed within city limits, according to the judge’s decision.

A TLC analysis of six months of trip data estimates Cheema stole about $40,000 during that stretch.

Officials couldn’t say when Cheema, a cabbie since May 2007, started inflating fares.

A suspicious passenger complained about the meter in Cheema’s cab increasing “very rapidly” during a July trip from Manhattan to Woodside, Queens, according to the decision. That prompted the TLC investigation.

TLC officials said new technology required for cabs, including GPS, enabled the authority to develop a case against Cheema. The agency has moved to yank his hack license.


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Read Comments (17)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Mar 01, 2010 at 07:54 PM Anonymous Says:

Sof ganev litliya

2

 Mar 01, 2010 at 07:32 PM Moishe Says:

Years ago when I drove a yellow cab we didn't have these high tech meters and the only way to make extra money was to leave off the meter and charge a flat rate. Those meters only kept track of number of fares and cost of each. I don't think I made as much during 3 years as a cab driver as this man stole.

Yes, there were quite a few Shomer Shabbos yellow cab drivers in the 1960's - 1970's.

3

 Mar 01, 2010 at 08:45 PM New Technology Says:

They should use the GPS technology to set the rate. It can determine if a cabbie is going outside the city limits and the time of day to set the fare.
It sems to easy for cabbies to manually push the 'wrong' button.
How many others have done this. He IS NOT the only one by far.

4

 Mar 01, 2010 at 09:06 PM Anonymous Says:

"Yes, there were quite a few Shomer Shabbos yellow cab drivers in the 1960's - 1970's"

Are you suggesting these now niftar yiddishe cabdrivers who cannot defend themselves were also ganovim by driving "off the meter".

5

 Mar 01, 2010 at 09:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Moishe Says:

Years ago when I drove a yellow cab we didn't have these high tech meters and the only way to make extra money was to leave off the meter and charge a flat rate. Those meters only kept track of number of fares and cost of each. I don't think I made as much during 3 years as a cab driver as this man stole.

Yes, there were quite a few Shomer Shabbos yellow cab drivers in the 1960's - 1970's.

so wonderful that you admit to cheating! idiot.

6

 Mar 01, 2010 at 09:26 PM Anonymous Says:

So if you are not so sophisticated and don't know all the tricks you end up by charging for the time that the passenger cleans his mess

7

 Mar 01, 2010 at 09:53 PM Anonymous Says:

i live in far rockaway which is in nyc. jfk airport is in nyc. the drive from jfk to my home in far rockaway is very short, without traffic it's less than 10 minutes.
I often fight with my taxi driver, bec he puts the meter on nassau, since to get from jfk to far rockaway you have to go thru nassau (long island).
It's illegal, and it's such a dumb law, since jfk is on the nassau border, my neighbors in lawrence (nassau) which can be even a shorter distance than my home are charged (legally) double as much.

8

 Mar 01, 2010 at 09:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6: he was actuly not cheating on the customer b/c he fixed it before traveling the only thing wrong was evading taxes (today yes very wrong) which we all did and some still do!

9

 Mar 01, 2010 at 10:01 PM MOISHE Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

"Yes, there were quite a few Shomer Shabbos yellow cab drivers in the 1960's - 1970's"

Are you suggesting these now niftar yiddishe cabdrivers who cannot defend themselves were also ganovim by driving "off the meter".

I, obviously, am still alive as are some of my fellow Shomer Shabbos drivers. I was not insinuating that any of were ganavim, just pointing out that frum yellow cab drivers were not a rarity then as they are today.

10

 Mar 02, 2010 at 08:23 AM a yid Says:

If a highter rate is charged the passenger should be informed on the screen in back

11

 Mar 02, 2010 at 02:23 AM Anonymous Says:

if the driver is only 22 years old now and is driving since 2007 how did he get TLC
permit to drive a cab someting dosent add up where are the inspectors

12

 Mar 02, 2010 at 05:47 AM Business traveler Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

i live in far rockaway which is in nyc. jfk airport is in nyc. the drive from jfk to my home in far rockaway is very short, without traffic it's less than 10 minutes.
I often fight with my taxi driver, bec he puts the meter on nassau, since to get from jfk to far rockaway you have to go thru nassau (long island).
It's illegal, and it's such a dumb law, since jfk is on the nassau border, my neighbors in lawrence (nassau) which can be even a shorter distance than my home are charged (legally) double as much.

10 minutes???

The meter is only supposed to change to the Nassau rate at the Nassau border, not at the origin of the trip. This adds only a few $$$ to the cab ride. The cab fare from JFK - the 5 Towns is usually about $25 without considerable traffic.

13

 Mar 02, 2010 at 10:10 AM Anonymous Says:

More Power to him! its a dog eat dog world.

14

 Mar 02, 2010 at 10:12 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Moishe Says:

Years ago when I drove a yellow cab we didn't have these high tech meters and the only way to make extra money was to leave off the meter and charge a flat rate. Those meters only kept track of number of fares and cost of each. I don't think I made as much during 3 years as a cab driver as this man stole.

Yes, there were quite a few Shomer Shabbos yellow cab drivers in the 1960's - 1970's.

I stil. Remember between 2000 and 2002 there where a few american cab drivers. Now its all our lovely brothers from the middle east, the ones who love america with a passion!!

15

 Mar 02, 2010 at 10:44 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

if the driver is only 22 years old now and is driving since 2007 how did he get TLC
permit to drive a cab someting dosent add up where are the inspectors

Read the last line of the article. His licence was fake.

16

 Mar 02, 2010 at 10:52 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

Read the last line of the article. His licence was fake.

What are you talking about? It says nothing of the sort. Maybe you need to get glasses, or else learn to read better.

17

 Mar 03, 2010 at 02:27 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

Read the last line of the article. His licence was fake.

A hack license is the vernacular for a taxi drivers license.

18

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