ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The reign of a self-proclaimed “taxi king” in New York City is on a downward spiral.
Evgeny “Gene” Freidman was indicted on five felonies and is accused of short-changing the Metropolitan Transit Authority through tax fraud.
Most cab rides in NYC have a 50 cent state tax built into the fare.
The Attorney General’s Office says instead of paying that to the state, Freidman and his CFO of Taxi Club Management, Inc. pocketed millions of dollars.
Freidman, the self-anointed “taxi king” of New York City, was in Albany County Court for tax evasion.
The Attorney General’s Office says Freidman owes the State Tax Department over $5 million in unpaid surcharges on cab rides.
“The charges facing this defendant are exceedingly serious. He faces five class B felonies. Each carries a mandatory prison sentence up to 8 and 1/3 to 25 years,” John Healy, of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, said.
Freidman oversees a fleet of more than 800 taxi cabs in NYC and other areas downstate.
The company’s CFO Andreea Dumitru was also indicted on criminal tax fraud and grand larceny.
The Attorney General’s Office says both defendants have international ties. Freidman has dual citizenship in Russia and is no stranger to the U.S. court system.
His attorney used that to show why his client is not a flight risk.
“In all these suits he’s had against the City of New York and the state of New York, he has made every single court appearance,” Lee Kindlon said.
Freidman posted $500,000 cash bail. Dumitru’s bail was set at $400,000.
Both defendants had to surrender their passports. They are scheduled to be in court June 21.