Kern DA warns of illegal price gouging and charitable solicitation fraud amid coronavirus pandemic

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer on Monday warned residents of illegal price gouging and charitable solicitation fraud amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Kern County businesses historically have shown great restraint and compassion for those affected by emergencies and disasters,” Zimmer said in a release. “For any who would give in to the temptation to benefit from others’ misfortune, we will take price gouging and charitable solicitation fraud very seriously and will prosecute to the full extent of the law.”

Under state law, it is illegal to charge a price for essential goods and services that is more than 10 percent higher than the price charged immediately before an emergency declaration.

California law generally prohibits businesses and individuals from raising prices for 30 days after an emergency declaration, the release said. Emergency declarations were made by Gov. Gavin Newsom on March 4 and President Donald Trump on March 13, triggering the effect of price gouging laws.

Price gouging convictions carry up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Anyone who has experienced suspected price gouging in Kern County is asked to call the DA’s office at 868-2340.

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