First Price-Gouging Charges Filed
A Jackson gas station owner has been arrested and charged with price gouging during a state of emergency, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.
Rajinder Singh, 50, of Madison, was arrested at his place of business in Jackson late today by investigators with the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office. Singh is accused of price gouging during a disaster. Once the Governor issues a disaster declaration with a price gouging prohibition, a merchant cannot increase their average profit margin on products until the executive order is rescinded. Singh is accused of charging seventeen cents over his usual profit margin at his Fuel Time gas station on Bullard Street in Jackson.
“The price gouging prohibition is in place in the disaster-designated area to prevent merchants from exploiting a disaster and taking advantage of residents and evacuees during such a time of need and vulnerability,” said Attorney General Hood.
The Attorney General’s Office has received hundreds of calls this week concerning price gouging primarily of gasoline, but the law applies to other products as well from bottled water to hotel rooms. The AG has investigators dispatched across the entire emergency impacted area and notes that it is possible that more arrests will follow.
This case is being investigated by Richie McCluskey and Bo Luckey and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Patrick Beasley of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
Singh was booked into the Hinds County Detention Center. No court date has yet been set in the case. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.