By District Attorney Charles J. Hynes
On the evening of Oct. 29, New York City and the greater New York metropolitan region were hit by one of the most horrific storms in recent memory.
The sad truth about a tragedy is that while it brings out the very best in people, it can also bring out the worst. To raise the price of a hotel as people seek emergency shelter is just unconscionable. Price gouging is the inflation of the price of necessary goods and services. The law prohibits such increases in costs of essential items like food, water, gas, generators, batteries and flashlights, as well as services like transportation during natural disasters or other events that disrupt the market.
At a press conference last week, I announced my office will empanel a special Rackets Grand Jury to investigate claims that certain businesses used Hurricane Sandy as an opportunity to illegally raise prices. The Grand Jury will investigate claims that businesses such as hotels and gas stations committed Grand Larceny when they dramatically raised prices in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
The Grand Jury will also investigate claims such as fake charities collecting and keeping contributions, or individuals falsely representing themselves as licensed contractors.
Anyone with information concerning storm-related price spikes or post-hurricane fraudulent activity should call the District Attorney’s Action Center at (718) 250-2340.