Press Release - 01-06-2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, January 6, 2023
NYS DMV ARRESTS TWO IN SEPARATE CASES OF ILLEGALLY REGISTERED STRETCHED LIMOUSINES
Vehicles Operated Out of Queens, Dutchess and Westchester Areas
New Yorkers Encouraged to Verify Company and Driver Information and Follow Safety Tips Before Chartering Altered Vehicles
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles today announced that Luis Collaguzo of Poughkeepsie and Dharmani Kunal of Kew Gardens, Queens have been charged with Class E Felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree and falsifying business records. Each is charged separately in connection with two stretched limousines that were illegally registered as passenger vehicles and believed to have been operating as for hire vehicles in the Hudson Valley and Metro New York areas.
Earlier this week, the DMV, in cooperation with the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) and New York State Police, initiated an investigation into a 2006 Hummer that had been registered by Mr. Collaguzo. In the registration paperwork, Collaguzo stated that the vehicle had not been altered to increase the seating area, when in fact it had been altered.
The vehicle’s registration was immediately revoked. Investigators found the vehicle parked in a driveway in Queens Thursday afternoon. The plates were seized, the vehicle was immobilized by DOT, and a suspension order placed on the windshield. Soon after, an attorney for Mr. Collaguzo contacted DMV’s Division of Field Investigation (DFI) and indicated that her client would turn himself in at a State Police barracks in Dutchess County.
In the other matter, DFI initiated an investigation into a 2005 Lincoln Town Car that had been registered by Mr. Kunal, illegally stating that it was a passenger vehicle and that it had not been altered to be used as a stretched limousine.
Again, the DMV immediately revoked the registration of the stretched Lincoln and worked with New York State Police and DOT to track down the location of the vehicle to seize the plates. The vehicle was found abandoned a few blocks from the location where Mr. Kunal was taken into custody and it was transported to a State Police impound facility.
The DMV also suspended the registration of five vehicles registered to Mr. Dharmani. In addition, both drivers licenses were suspended pending a safety hearing.
The DMV also issued an immediate suspension of all additional vehicles owned or operated by Mr. Collaguzo and Mr. Kunal for violations of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Article 19-A.
Swift action and cooperation among the DMV, DOT and New York State Police allowed these clandestine operators to have their vehicles removed from New York’s roadways, making them safer for all.
Both men were processed by the New York State Police on charges brought by DMV’s Division of Field Investigation and issued an appearance ticket returnable to Albany County.
Anyone renting a limousine is encouraged to visit the Safe Limo New York website for tips to follow before you charter an altered limousine. The website also includes operating safety inspection performance data of carriers operating under NYS DOT operating authority.
To file a limousine safety related complaint, fill out the complaint form or call the toll-free hotline at 833-727-0901.