NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement Wednesday with a major gasoline wholesaler and retailer for allegedly charging unconscionably excessive prices at six stations after Hurricane Sandy.
The New Paltz-based CPD Energy Corp., which supplies and operates stations in lower and mid-Hudson Valley, will pay $50,000 in penalties for engaging in price gouging at six stations it owns in Ulster, Putnam and Westchester counties. The settlement resolves price gouging allegations at six stations, including the White Plains-based Chestnut Mart, doing business as Mobil, the White Plains-based Hutchinson Parkway Station, doing business as Mobil, the Yorktown Heights-based Yorktown Food Mart Inc., doing business as Mobil, the Yonkers-based Chestnut Mart Inc., doing business as Mobil, the New Paltz-based Friendly Service New Paltz, doing business as Mobil, and the Patterson-based Chestnut Mart Inc., doing business as Mobil.
The CPD settlement represents the largest penalty paid by one operator for alleged gasoline price gouging after Hurricane Sandy.
"As thousands of New Yorkers sat in line for hours waiting to buy gasoline during the state of emergency created by Hurricane Sandy, some crooked station owners increased their retail prices by excessive and illegal amounts," Schneiderman said. "Today, we are continuing to send the message that ripping off the public during a time of crisis is against the law, and that those who engage in illegal price gouging will be held accountable."
Schneiderman also announced a $23,733 default judgment against Mena Inter Inc., doing business as a Farmingdale-based USA Petroleum gas station, for alleged price gouging, and monetary settlements with five additional station owners for alleged price gouging violations.
Since Hurricane Sandy, Schneiderman's office recovered $287,618 from 42 gas stations in penalties and costs to resolve allegations of price gouging. Lawsuits against two other gas stations remain pending while inquiries into several other gas stations are ongoing.
New York state's Price Gouging Law prohibits merchants from taking unfair advantage of consumers by selling services or goods for an unconscionably excessive price during natural disasters.