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Hack rips off unsuspecting taxi riders by at least $40k

Wasim Khalid Cheema (Photo courtesy TLC)

Now that’s what you call a “cash cab.”

A Brooklyn taxi driver is accused of ripping off his riders for months by misuing his meter. Wasim Khalid Cheema, 22, routinely charged unsuspecting passengers double, ripping off 574 riders in just a month, according to court documents. The rogue hack stole roughly $40,000 in a six-month period, according to investigators. But Cheema could have taken much more, as he has been on the road since 2007.

The caper is one of the worst overcharge cases in Taxi and Limousine Commission history, agency officials said yesterday.

“(Cheema) has a pattern of deceiving passengers in a manner which is clearly against the best interests of the public,” a city administrative law judge wrote in a decision against him last month. “Members of the riding public must be able to trust that taxicab drivers will … be honest.”

Cheema didn’t show up for his court appearance and could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The investigation against Cheema is ongoing, and a TLC spokesman declined yesterday to comment about further criminal charges.

Last year, a rider who noticed the meter “increased very rapidly” complained to the city about Cheema. Investigators tracked his wrongdoing using GPS technology recently installed in all taxi meters, which showed that Cheema charged city riders a rate reserved for trips to Nassau and Westchester counties, officials found.

Cheema was also fined for overcharging a passenger in 2008, and wracked up 11 motor vehicle violations for speeding, talking on his cell phone and other offenses. TLC officials said they imposed an $850 fine against Cheema and revoked his license last Wednesday.

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