DC Attorney General sues store over alleged price gouging

Karl Racine, attorney general for the District of Columbia, is suing a store accused of selling a container of bleach for nearly $13.

Racine announced the lawsuit Monday, which he says comes from the business, Helen Mart on Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue in Northeast D.C., ignoring a cease and desist letter directing them to charge a fairer price.

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The attorney general's office got an anonymous tip and sent an investigator who confirmed the store was charging $12.99 for the container of bleach. Other stores charged just over $4.

"The audacity is huge and the time is not the time. This is a pandemic crisis. A lot of people are suffering significant economic harm," Racine said.

After receiving no response from the store to the cease and desist letter an investigator once again saw the store charging the same amount.

"We cannot have a merchant engage in what we think is willing and knowing violation of the law," Racine said.
Racine says each violation of the price gouging law can come with a $5,000 fine.

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Maryland's attorney general's office told FOX 5 it has sent out 100 cease and desist letters related to price gouginng, but hasn't had to file any lawsuits.

In Virginia, the attorney general's office has received more than 400 complaints but has not had to sue any business during the pandemic.

FOX 5 could not reach Helen Mart for comment.