Press Release - 01-26-2023
JOINT NEW YORK STATE DMV, DOT AND STATE POLICE INVESTIGATION LEADS TO ARRESTS FOR ILLEGALLY REGISTERED STRETCHED LIMOUSINES IN NEW YORK CITY
Vehicles Operated Out of Queens and NYC Metro
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 (DMV), Department of Transportation (DOT), and New York State Police, today announced that Felix Calle of Woodside, Queens and Murtaza Harun of Rego Park, Queens have been charged in separate cases with multiple felony counts for illegally registering stretched limousines as passenger vehicles. Both cases are the result of ongoing collaboration among the agencies to look into vehicles in operation without proper authorization.
The Calle matter involved a pink Hummer limousine with passenger plates. DMV staff reviewed the registration paperwork and found that the 2006 Hummer had allegedly been registered falsely as a passenger vehicle. In addition, a website was being advertised on the back of the Hummer purportedly offering that vehicle and others for hire around Queens and the New York City metro area. DMV immediately revoked the registration.
On January 11, Mr. Calle turned himself in to investigators from DMV’s Division of Field Investigation (DFI) in Albany and was charged with one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the first degree and one count of Falsifying Business Records in the first degree. He was processed by State Police and issued a court appearance ticket for a later date. Mr. Calle’s driver’s license was suspended pending a safety hearing.
The case against Harun involves three vehicles, a 2005 Hummer, 2015 Lincoln and 2007 Cadillac with passenger plates. A review of the paperwork submitted to DMV found that the registrations for all three had allegedly been filed falsely with claims that the vehicles had not been modified or stretched and were simply passenger vehicles. It is believed that they were being operated as for-hire vehicles in the New York City metro area.
On January 19, Mr. Harun turned himself in, accompanied by his attorney, to DFI and State Police investigators at the College Point DMV Office and was charged with a total of six felony counts, three counts Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the first degree and three counts of Falsifying Business Records in the first degree, related to the three vehicles. All three of those registrations have been revoked and Mr. Harun’s license has been suspended pending a safety hearing. The arrest was processed by State Police, and he was issued a court appearance ticket for a later date.
The collaboration among the DMV, DOT and State Police made these arrests possible, and shows how agencies working together can do more to make sure that potentially unsafe vehicles are not allowed on New York’s roadways, making them safer for all.
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.
The charges are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
To file a limousine safety related complaint, fill out the complaint form or call the toll-free hotline at 833-727-0901.