Mason indicted on charges of price gouging

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 3, 2005

LIVINGSTON-Gas prices have been on the rise all over the Black Belt, however some have taken the increases beyond the law. In one such case an indictment was recently handed down as to Jason McBride of McBride Oil Company of Aliceville for price gouging in their two Livingston locations.

McBride was investigate when it was discovered his stations were charging $3.69 per gallon. McBride has two locations with one on the Interstate and the other is downtown B.P. Station on Lafayette Street.

District Attorney Greg Griggers said McBride was only indicted on one count, though the prices were the same at both stations. He said the investigation was as simple as notification by customers.

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“We just went in there and found out what the price was and tried to talk to him,” Griggers said. “We also have a receipt from a customer who paid $3.69 a gallon.”

Griggers said other stations in Livingston were selling gas for $2.49 and $2.79 for the same grade of fuel.

The process for prosecution will be the regular procedure.

“It will be just like a criminal trial,” Griggers said. “We will present it to the jury and they will decide if he is innocent or guilty.”

If McBride is found guilty the case will be civil.

Griggers said they wanted to make it perfectly clear this behavior would not stand in his circuit.

“We are not going to tolerate things like this,” Griggers said. “I think the thing that makes it most frustrating is the fact that you have somebody in our circuit price gouging out on the interstate.”

Griggers said the District Attorneys office was looking out for their citizens and the reputation of the circuit.

“Our first concern is always our local people,” Griggers said. “But, you don’t want to get a bad name for Sumter County or any county in this circuit that people will take advantage of you.”

Since Hurricane Katrina Griggers said there have been examples of people taking advantage of victims nationally. He said he did not plan to allow businesses in his circuit do the same.

“Even if it was primarily people traveling on the Interstate there were people traveling north to get away from problems or south trying to help,” Griggers said. “We are not going to tolerate it.”

Griggers said he has talked to the Attorney General Troy King’s office and they have offered their assistance.