New York, Mar. 2 (ANI): In what is being said to be New York's biggest rider rip-off ever, an Indian-origin cabbie has stolen an estimated 40,000 dollars by overcharging passengers.
A Taxi and Limousine Commission review of trip data concluded that Wasim Khalid Cheema manipulated the meter in his yellow cab to inflate fares paid by unsuspecting passengers.
Officials are still trying to determine how Cheema allegedly ripped off 574 riders in a single month.
"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," New York Daily News quoted Law Judge Alessandra Zorgniotti as saying in a decision concluding in the case.
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.
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.
According to the judge's decision, Cheema switched to the out-of-city rate on trips that stayed within city limits.
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 and the agency has moved to yank his hack license. (ANI)