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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

21 December 2006

Consumer Affairs and District Attorney Charge Three Gas Stations

Bogsted and Rice say stations were selling “regular” gas at “premium” prices, bilking consumers out of as much as 20 cents per gallon

MINEOLA, NY – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Roger Bogsted announced this morning that three gas stations have been charged with duping Nassau consumers out of as much as 20 cents per gallon in an effort to charge consumers “premium” prices for “regular” gasoline. 

“At a time when our families and business are paying astronomical prices to commute to work and to make a living, it’s unconscionable that these stations would add to that burden,” said District Attorney Rice.

“We will continue to carefully monitor octane levels to make certain consumers are getting full measure at all gas pumps,” said Nassau County Commissioner of Consumer Affairs Roger Bogsted.  “We look forward to future joint operations with District Attorney Kathleen Rice and her office.”

Today’s charges are the result of a joint, four-month long investigation by the District Attorney’s Office and the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs into whether local gas stations were misrepresenting the octane level of the gasoline sold to consumers. 

In each case, a detective from the District Attorney’s Office purchased what was represented to be 93 octane gasoline, the highest grade available, from the station.  After purchasing the gasoline, the container was sealed and brought to the Nassau County Department of Consumer Affairs. 

Lab tests later confirmed that three stations failed the octane test.  This information was then used to obtain search warrants to seize purchase and delivery records from the stations, as well as other business records. 

After a review of the test results and the records seized from two stations, three corporations have been charged.  Each will be charged with one count Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, one count Petit Larceny, and one count Agricultural and Market Law, Section 192(a)(1) (Octane Law).

The companies face fines of up to $25,000 if convicted of the charges.

Stations Charged

24 Seven Food and Fuel Inc. (Island Gas)

192 E. Sunrise Highway

Valley Stream, NY

The gasoline tested at 89.4.  The 93 octane sold for $3.25 a gallon at that time, and the 89 octane sold for $3.19 a gallon.  The station was cheating customers .06¢ on every gallon sold as premium gasoline.

S.B. Sunrise Inc. (USA Gas)

38 W. Sunrise Highway

Valley Stream, NY

The gasoline tested at 88.6 octane.  The 93 octane sold for $3.28 on August 22, 2006, and 89 octane sold for $3.08.  The station was cheating consumers .20¢ on every premium gallon sold to consumers.

King LLC. (USA Gas)

740 Hempstead Turnpike

Franklin Square, NY 

The gasoline tested out at 87.8 octane.  The 93 octane sold for $3.32 a gallon at that time, while 87 sold at $3.12 a gallon.  The station was cheating consumers .20¢ on every gallon sold on premium gas.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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