By Bill Parry
The so-called “Taxi King” and his financial officer have been indicted on charges of failing to pay $5 million in MTA taxes on their medallion cab business, according to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Evgeny Friedman, 46, of Manhattan and Andrea Dumitru, 41, of Sunnyside were arrested on a five-count indictment charging them jointly with theft and failure to remit to the New York State Tax Department over $5 million in 50-cent MTA surcharges between 2012 and 2015.
During this time period, Friedman, the chief executive officer, and Dumitru, the CFO, of Taxiclub Management Inc., managed a fleet of over 800 medallion taxicabs out of locations in Woodside, Long Island City, Manhattan and Brooklyn.
“The ‘Taxi King’ built his empire by stealing from New Yorkers — pocketing money that should have been invested into our transportation system,” Schneiderman said. “No one is above the law, and my office will use every tool available to hold accountable those who cheat the system.”
Friedman and Dumitru have both been charged with four counts of criminal tax fraud and one count of grand larceny. They face a maximum sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison on each charge.
“This indictment exposes a blatant scheme to shortchange the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the transportation infrastructure relied on by millions of New Yorkers,” Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion said. “Hundreds of honest taxi drivers did their part in collecting the proper fare, however Mr. Friedman and his business partner are accused of manipulating tax filings to put this money right into their own pockets. We will continue to work with the attorney general’s office and all of our law enforcement partners to ensure that those who accumulate personal wealth with tax schemes and ill-gotten gains face justice.”
In addition, the attorney general’s Taxpayer Protection Bureau is conducting an ongoing parallel civil investigation into Friedman’s conduct. Meanwhile, the attorney general’s Labor Bureau has investigated Friedman’s failure to pay drivers. Those investigations resulted in a 2013 settlement for $1.2 million and a 2016 consent order in New York Supreme Court requiring Freidman and four of his taxi medallion agencies to pay over $275,000 in damages and fines and to hire an independent monitor to examine compliance with TLC driver-related rules, Scheiderman said.
Freidman and Dumitru were arraigned in Albany County Court before Judge Peter Lynch. Bail was set in the amount of $500,000 bond or cash for Freidman and $400,000 bond or cash for Duitru.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr