An Uber driver has been accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman before "dumping" her on the side of an expressway in another state, according to reports.
Harbir Parmar, 24, was charged with kidnapping and wire fraud after investigators said he picked a woman up in Manhattan and sexually assaulted her while she was asleep instead of dropping her off in the suburbs, a statement issued Tuesday by the United States Attorney's Office on Tuesday said.
“The victim in this case utilized a ride sharing service trusting that her driver would provide a safe ride home. Instead, as we allege today, Harbir Parmar made an outrageous choice, deciding to unlawfully take advantage of his passenger at a moment of vulnerability for his own selfish motives,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said, according to the statement.
The incident reportedly occurred on February 21, when an unidentified woman used Uber to request a ride. She was picked up at about 11:30 p.m. by Parmar and allegedly asked him to take him from Manhattan to her home in White Plains, New York.
On the drive she fell asleep, at which point investigators say Parmar changed the destination to Boston and began driving the direction of the new destination.
When the victim woke up, Parmar had allegedly pulled the car over and climbed into the backseat with her and had his hand "under her shirt touching the top of her breast," the statement alleged.
The startled woman asked Parmar, who had started driving again, to take her either to her home or to a police station, but Parmar refused and dropped off her at the side of I-95 in Branford, Connecticut, investigators said. She was able to make her way to a nearby convenience store to request for help.
Uber responded to the charges against Parmar, saying that they terminated his app access back in February.
“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,” a company spokesperson told Oxygen.com via email on Wednesday.
Additionally, Parmar was charged with wire fraud over allegations he overcharged customers for their rides; the alleged victim in this case was initially charged more than $1,000 for the trip, but was refunded her money after contacting Uber.
Investigators believe that from December 2016 to through February 2018 Parmar sent false information about customer destinations to Uber on at least 11 occasions, and added a cleaning fee to customer accounts at least three times. As a result, it's believed that customers were overcharged by more than $3,600.
The company has asked anyone with information about any additional incidents to contact authorities.
Parmar appeared in federal court in White Plains on Tuesday and has since been released on bail.
He'll be required to wear an electronic monitoring device and has been prohibited from working as a cab or ride sharing driver while awaiting trial, WNBC reports.
Ethan Harfenist contributed to this report.
[Photo: Associated Press]
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