Cops arrested a Richmond Hill man, who is facing charges of allegedly operating a limousine service without the proper safety protocols in place, prosecutors announced Wednesday.
Lovepreet Bopari, 23, was charged with second-degree grand larceny, first-degree falsifying business records and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court on Nov. 19.
“The defendant is accused of knowingly operating a for-hire limousine service and failing to comply with state guidelines established to ensure the safety of passengers riding in commercial vehicles,” said Acting District Attorney John M. Ryan. “The defendant is alleged to have made false statements on DMV documents and secured a regular insurance policy from a company that doesn’t even offer commercial coverage. Every single person that stepped into that limo for a ride was at grave risks. The defendant will be held accountable.”
According to charges, Bopari allegedly filed a title registration application on Sept. 6 to the Department of Motor Vehicles listing himself as the registrant and title owner of a 2007 Hummer and falsely stated that the vehicle seated seven people and would only be used for personal use. Bopari also allegedly stated that at no time had the car been modified in a way that would change its registration class.
Investigators allegedly found that the vehicle had been extended into a 31-foot limo and sported a business decal on it advertising that it could seat up to 20 passengers. An inspection allegedly found that the limo had violated safety standards by not having a fire extinguisher, warning signs, or other devices required for a limousine of this size.
When questioned about the Hummer on Oct. 2, Bopari allegedly admitted to using the vehicle as a for-hire limo until he was caught by the DOT. The criminal complaint states that Bopari also allegedly made false statements on insurance forms and underinsured the limo with a $50,000 policy for a personal vehicle. The insurance company Bopari used does not insure limos and would not have issued the policy had they known the truth.
According to Ryan, by falsely registering and insuring the vehicle as his personal car, Bopari allegedly deliberately avoided strict safety standards and having the full amount of insurance coverage in the event of an accident. The DOT requires that vehicles with seating that exceeds 15 people should have semi-annual safety checks as the safety requirements are more stringent than personal passenger cars.