Dow, other N.J. agencies team against gas stations owner

Bryan Cohen Sep. 29, 2011, 12:32pm


NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow announced a coordinated enforcement action on Thursday against the owner of five gas stations with a history of Motor Fuels law violations.

Irfan Hassan allegedly operated without Motor Fuels Retail Dealer licenses and has been assessed $5,000 in civil penalties. Upon payment, he will be issued conditional license renewals that can be revoked and his stations closed if further violations occur.

The actions against Hassan are part of a coordinated enforcement effort that involves the state's Division of Consumer Affairs' Office of Weights and Measures and the Division of Taxation within the New Jersey Department of Treasury. OWM offices check gas stations for compliance with state laws and regulations while the Division of Taxation issues the Motor Fuels Retailer Dealer license that each station owner is required to obtain.

Hassan's gas stations have been cited and prosecuted by OWM officers for alleged violations including co-mingling regular with premium grade fuel, selling regular grade gasoline from a premium grade fuel dispenser at the premium grade price and pump prices not matching the prices displayed on signs.

"Those who see fines as just a cost of doing business had better reconsider," Dow said. "If violations continue, the increased mandatory penalties for subsequent violations may result in the closing of the stations for a significant period."

Hassan was cited in 2009 by OWM officials for co-mingling regular grade gasoline with premium grade at his South Orange, N.J.-based Delta Gas Station. He paid a $6,000 civil penalty and was barred from selling fuel for 10 days. Last year, Hassan was again found guilty of selling regular grade gasoline as premium grade at the same station. He paid a $9,800 penalty and was barred from selling fuel for 15 days.

The Division of Taxation assessed $1,000 penalties against Hassan and, upon payment, plans to issue a one-year conditional license renewal to five of Hassan's companies, including two Fidelity Builders Inc. companies in Bayonne; Friends Gas Inc. in East Orange; Signature Fuels Inc. in West Orange; and Signature Fuel Inc. in South Orange. All of the stations at these locations are Delta gas stations.

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