Customers of the SuperAmerica gas station in Waconia, Minn., about 35 miles southwest of Minneapolis, were in for a treat to see discounted gas prices and tobacco products sold at half off over the weekend, not realizing that the new station owner was an alleged fraudster who paid for the station with a fake check.
The previous owner, Husein Sarameh, 51, said he sold the station in early April for $945,000. The buyer paid $203,000 for the down payment with a check, which Sarameh said bounced the next day.
But the new buyer, found through a broker, had already begun operating the business. Sarameh said his lawyers advised him he could not evict the new owner without a court order.
On Friday and Saturday, the new owner began selling discounted gas and tobacco and grocery products, some at half-off, as first reported by ABC affiliate KSTP.
Sarameh, who owns two other gas stations in a nearby town, said he was shocked by the brazen act of buying property with fake funds.
"You can't buy property and write a fake check," he said. "We have their driver's license, name, and address. They think they can get away with it."
Sarameh began reoperating the station on Monday with a grand re-opening sale with a discount of 5 cents a gallon; and customers with a rewards card can receive an additional discount of 3 cents a gallon.
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Paul Tschida, commander at the Carver County Sheriff's office, said the case has been assigned to the investigations division, which is looking into what happened, including whether there was a bounced check and the allegations that gas and other products were illegally sold at discounted prices.