Evgeny Freidman, whose taxi medallion wealth pre-Uber was nearly a billion dollars has been arraigned on charges of theft of five million dollars in cab-ride surcharges that he allegedly collected, but never paid.
He was arraigned late Wednesday morning in Albany County Court. His bail set at one-half-million dollars.
The New York State Police and Attorney General's office confirmed that Freidman was taken into custody on Tuesday, and then transported to Albany for this morning's arraignment.
It's another hit for once powerful businessman who Eyewitness News first reported owes millions in state taxes.
For years, Freidman insisted to 7 On Your Side Investigates that he owed little or nothing in back business taxes to the state. One of those denials as recently as a few months ago.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a five-count indictment said that Freidman failed to pay the state $5-million dollars.
"The 'Taxi King' built his empire by stealing from New Yorkers - pocketing money that should have instead been invested in our transportation system," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "No one is above the law, and my office will use every tool available to hold accountable those who cheat the system."
The indictment alleges that he collected a 50-cent surcharge for every ride in one of his taxis, but then never remitted that money to the state to help fund subway and commuter trains.
Freidman remains in custody in Albany on $500-thousand dollar bail. The embattled Taxi King's fortunes have been spiraling downward with the surge in Uber and Lyft.