Michigan Arrests Phony Oil Peddlers


Investigators from Michigans attorney general criminal division arrested four City Petroleum and Star Petroleum officials last week on felony charges for allegedly selling intentionally mislabeled motor oil to retailers.

The individuals arrested on Feb. 24 include Dearborn-based City Petroleums co-owners, brothers Moussa Kaddouh, 58, and Joe Kdouh, 61, along with M. Kaddouhs son, Ali Kaddouh, 34, all from Dearborn, and the owner of Detroit-based Star Petroleum, Ayman Faraj, 36, of Canton.

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All four individuals had been responsible for peddling phony petroleum products, according to a Feb. 26 press release from the office of Michigans attorney general, Bill Schuette. The felony charges include intentionally not filling products up to the 32 ounces listed on product labels and using used oil rather than new motor oil despite the product labels implications. Both actions are in violation of Michigans weights and measures act for improper labeling and are punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.

M. Kaddouh, J. Kdouh, and Faraj were also indicted on misdemeanor charges for allegedly possessing and using an uncertified measuring device to sell commodities, which could result in up to a year in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Lube Report was unable to reach any of the indicted individuals by deadline. A representative at Star Petroleum denied having any knowledge of the charges or of Farajs whereabouts.

While both Michigan companies sell wholesale motor oil and transmission fluid products throughout the state-City Petroleum under its brand City Star, and Star Petroleum under the name Star-the office of Michigans attorney general notes that the neighboring companies are not affiliated.

Both City Petroleum and Star Petroleum have been under Michigans microscope before. In September 2013, Michigans dept. of weights and measures ordered both companies to discontinue sale of all motor oil and transmission fluid manufactured, packaged, and/or distributed throughout the state.

City Petroleum was also ordered by North Carolinas dept. of agriculture and consumer services to remove its products from the shelves in October 2011. The Petroleum Quality Institute of America, a consumer advocacy organization in New Jersey, had also released multiple warnings to consumers about both City Petroleum and Star Petroleum after testing samples of both companies oils in 2011.

[These companies] knowingly deceived consumers, said Jamie Clover Adams, director of Michigans dept. of agriculture and rural development. 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.

According to Schuettes office, Faraj was released on a $5,000 personal bond and is due in Detroits 36th District Court on March 10. A. Kaddouh, M. Kaddouh, and J. Kdouh were released on a $10,000 personal bond and are scheduled to appear in Dearborns 19th District Court on April 11.

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