What to Know
- A former Uber driver pleaded guilty to kidnapping a woman who hired him to take her from Manhattan to White Plains last year, officials said
- The woman fell asleep in his backseat, and prosecutors said he switched her destination to Boston and started driving that way
- Prosecutors also said he got into the backseat of the vehicle and put his hand under the woman's shirt while she was asleep
The Manhattan Uber driver arrested last year for allegedly kidnapping and "terrorizing" one of his passengers, quietly changing her destination in the app to an address in Boston as she slept, has pleaded guilty in the case.
Federal prosecutors said Monday that Harbir Parmar, a 25-year-old from Howard Beach, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and wire fraud charges in White Plains federal court. The kidnapping count carries up to a life prison sentence.
Parmar was arrested in October, months after the attack. Authorities have said he picked up a woman late on Feb. 21, 2018 in Manhattan and was supposed to take her to White Plains. It was 11:30 p.m.; she fell asleep in the backseat and officials say Parmar switched the destination in the Uber app from White Plains to Boston, Massachusetts -- and started to drive in that direction.
When the victim awoke, the vehicle was parked by the side of the road and Parmar was in the backseat with her with his hand under her shirt touching the top of her breast, prosecutors said. Parmar then went back to the driver’s seat.
The woman asked to be taken to White Plains or to a police station but he refused and dropped the victim off on the side of I-95 in Branford, Connecticut. She was able to memorize his license plate before getting help at a nearby store.
When the woman reported the incident to Uber the next day, she learned she had been charged more than $1,000 for the bogus trip in which she'd been kidnapped and victimized. Prosecutors say Parmar also changed the destinations of other Uber customers through the company’s app on at least 11 occasions between December 2016 and February 2018.
Uber condemned the allegations in a statement at the time of Parmar's arrest, saying "What’s been reported is horrible and something no person should go through. As soon as we became aware, we immediately removed this individual's access to the platform. We have fully cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to support their investigation."
He is scheduled to be sentenced in June.
"Last year, Harbir Parmar took advantage of a vulnerable woman who utilized a ridesharing service by kidnapping and terrorizing her," U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. "In addition, he charged many of his ridesharing customers with fraudulent fees. Today, he admitted his guilt in open court, and will now be held accountable for his brazen crimes."