American woman takes cab driver for a ride by reneging on $980 fare

Denise Rebelato was arrested after failing to cough up for the trip from New York to Boston

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The Independent US

Taking a taxi across states was always going to be expensive - but one woman backtracked on her decision to pay the extortionate fare.

Denise Rebelato took a 200-mile cab ride from New York to Boston and then told the driver she couldn’t pay the $980 (£597) fare.

The 31-year-old unemployed Massachusetts mother hailed a taxi to take her from John F Kennedy International Airport to her home in Framingham on Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported.

“It was the worst job ever,” cabbie Adnan Chaudhry told the Daily News.

He said that Rebelato, who had just returned from Brazil, had agreed to pay at least $850 (£518) for the journey and told him: “Money is not an obstacle.”

But Chaudhry claimed Rebelato was a nightmare passenger and screamed at him to go faster despite the fact that the roads were icy. He also said that she gave him confusing directions and called him a “moron” a number of times during the four-hour journey.

However, the worst was yet to come as, when they finally reached their destination, Rebelato revealed that she had no money and needed to go inside to look for cash. Chaudhry agreed but insisted that she leave her luggage – two suitcases and a purse – inside his vehicle.

When Rebelato retuned 10 minutes later, she still had no money and a furious Chaudhry told her that he would take her to the Framingham police station.

Rebelato was subsequently arrested on larceny charges, but she told cops she had “sent a message to Obama" and began defending her actions.

“I have so many problems. I just came back from Brazil,” Rebelato told one officer, according to a police report.

“She said she can’t hold a job. She doesn’t have any money,” spokesman Lt. Frank DiVitorio told the Daily News.

Rebelato, who has no criminal record, was released on Thursday afternoon after agreeing to pay Chaudhry the fare within 30 days.

The Daily News, who spoke to Rebelato after the incident, reported that she claimed to have rushed home from Brazil after learning that her 9-year-old son had been sexually assaulted at his school. She had previously told police that he had been sexually abused.

At Rebelato’s arraignment Framingham District Court Judge Robert Greco questioned her decision to pay nearly $1,000 (£609) for a trip that would cost just $35 (£21) by bus.

And Chaudhry claimed that he had learnt from his mistakes.

“Next time, I pick up a fare I’m going to ask them please do pay upfront,” he said. “Otherwise, I can’t go.”