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SE Michigan 4 Face Felony Charges For Peddling Phony Petroleum Products

Lansing, MI - Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced felony criminal charges against four Wayne County individuals for allegedly selling intentionally mislabeled motor oil products to retailers across the state.

Schuette charged Moussa Kaddouh, 58, of Dearborn; Ali Kaddouh, 34, of Dearborn; Joe Kdouh, 61, of Dearborn Heights; and Ayman Faraj, 36, of Canton, with felony charges for intentionally selling an improperly labeled commodity as well as misdemeanors for possessing an uncertified measuring device to sell commodities.

“Michigan consumers deserve full confidence in the products they purchase,” said Schuette.

“We will continue to aggressively pursue anyone seeking to skirt the rules at the expense of hardworking families.”

“Selling misrepresented product is simply not acceptable, and it was through the hard work, persistence and dedication of our Weights and Measures team that we were able to get this product off the shelves,” said Jamie Clover Adams, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director.

“This company knowingly deceived consumers. Michiganders deserve - and should expect - that they are getting what they pay for every single time.”

City Petroleum and Star Petroleum Background and Investigation

City Petroleum, based in Dearborn, sells wholesale motor oil and transmission fluid products labeled “City Star” to retailers throughout Michigan. Brothers Moussa Kaddouh and Joe Kdouh own and operate the business and employ Ali Kaddouh, Moussa’s son.

Star Petroleum, based in Detroit, sells wholesale motor oil and transmission fluid products labeled “Star” to retailers throughout Michigan. Star is owned and operated by Faraj.

City Petroleum and Star Petroleum are not affiliated.

MDARD's Weights and Measures Program received citizen complaints that both City and Star Petroleum allegedly did not fill their products to the 32 ounces listed on the product label and that products contained used motor oil instead of new motor oil.

In 2013, Attorney General and MDARD Weights and Measures inspectors conducted investigations into City Petroleum and Star Petroleum and found their products to be short in volume and that each container’s contents did not match the identity of product stated on the label. Both infractions violate Michigan’s Weights and Measures Act for improper labeling.

On February 24, 2014, Attorney General Criminal Division investigators arrested Moussa Kaddouh, Ali Kaddouh, Joe Kdouh, and Ayman Faraj. Schuette filed the following charges against the four defendants in Detroit and Dearborn:

Moussa Kaddouh, 58, of Dearborn:

Four counts of Intentionally Offering for Sale an Improperly Labeled Commodity, felonies punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine; and,
Two counts of Possession of an Unsealed/Uncertified Measuring Device Used for the Sale of a Commodity, misdemeanors punishable by up to 1 year in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Joe Kdouh, 61, of Dearborn Heights:

Four counts of Intentionally Offering for Sale an Improperly Labeled Commodity, felonies punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine; and,
Two counts of Possession of an Unsealed/Uncertified Measuring Device Used for the Sale of a Commodity, misdemeanors punishable by up to 1 year in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Ali Kaddouh, 34, of Dearborn:

Four counts of Intentionally Offering for Sale an Improperly Labeled Commodity, felonies punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.
Ayman Faraj, 36, of Canton:

Four counts of Intentionally Offering for Sale an Improperly Labeled Commodity, felonies punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine; and,
Two counts of Possession of an Unsealed/Uncertified Measuring Device Used for the Sale of a Commodity, misdemeanors punishable by up to 1 year in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Faraj was arraigned before Judge Millicent Sherman in Detroit’s 36th District Court and was released on a $5,000 personal bond. He is next due in court for a preliminary examination on March 10, 2014 before Judge Joseph Baltimore.

Ali Kaddouh, Moussa Kaddouh, and Joe Kdouh were arraigned before Judge William Hultgren in Dearborn’s 19th District Court and were released on a $10,000 personal bond. Their preliminary examination is scheduled for April 11, 2014 before Judge Hultgren.

Alert Issued: Stop-Use, Removal for Mislabeled Motor Oil

In September 2013, following Attorney General and MDARD Weights and Measures investigations, MDARD issued Stop-Use and Stop-Removal Orders for motor oil and transmission fluid manufactured, packaged, and/or distributed by City Petroleum (dba City Star) of Dearborn and Star Petroleum of Detroit. The Stop-Use and Stop-Removal orders mean no City Petroleum or Star Petroleum motor oil or transmission fluid may be sold or used in the State of Michigan.

The City Petroleum and Star Petroleum products were primarily sold at small independent gas stations, discount and party stores. It is possible they were also sold in some oil change facilities across the state. Consumers can visit www.michigan.gov/mdard and look under the “Hot News” section for photos of the product labels as well as information on what to look for when buying motor oil.

Consumers who believe they may have purchased improperly labeled City Petroleum or Star Petroleum products can contact Schuette’s Consumer Protection Division: P.O. Box 30213, Lansing, MI 48909, call toll-free: 877-765-8388, or file a complaint online at www.michigan.gov/ag (click on "File A Complaint").

A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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