The phone call that ruined Mohammed Hoque's life came in April 2014 as he began another long day driving a New York City taxi, a job he had held since emigrating from Bangladesh nine years earlier.

The call came from a prominent businessman who was selling a medallion, the coveted city permit that allows a driver to own a yellow cab instead of working for someone else. If Hoque gave him $50,000 that day, he promised to arrange a loan for the purchase.

After years chafing under bosses he hated, Hoque thought his dreams of wealth and independence were coming


A valuable piece of tin

5am to 5pm, six days a week

They used it as an ATM

Big banks arrive

The $1 million medallion

A road to nowhere