Fraudsters buy MN SuperAmerica with bad check, sell everything for half price, then take off

Categories: Crime
superamerica560.jpg
Forget complicated Ponzi schemes. The "business people" behind a recent scam at the SuperAmerica in Waconia provided a refresher course in good ol' fashioned fraud.

SEE ALSO: Tom Petters, convicted Ponzi schemer, teaches fellow inmates business classes

The previous owner of the SA, a 51-year-old man named Husein Sarameh, agreed to sell his business to as-of-yet-unidentified person or group of people last month for $945,000. The buyers wrote a $203,000 check to cover the down payment and Sarameh, following his lawyer's advice, turned over the reins to the store before it had even cleared. And that's where things got weird.

Last weekend, the new owners held quite the two-day sale. As KSTP reports, they sold gas for $3.85 a gallon -- a ridiculous (and illegally low) price compared to the $4.29 average cost of a gallon elsewhere in Waconia -- and sold nearly everything in the store for half-price. Fifty-thousand dollars later they took off and they still haven't been arrested.

After the down payment check bounced and Sarameh realized he'd been scammed, he reassumed ownership of the SA. More gas discounts are planned for this weekend, though this time the more modest discounts will be legitimate.

Needless to say, the last couple weekends have been good ones for regular customers at the Waconia SA.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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18 comments
Juniper Lee
Juniper Lee

This is plain weird. I cant even get a Target Red card. How does "unnamed" party buy a corporate franchise and manage this much craziness without getting caught? or at least caught up in the red tape? Waconia is a strange place Jenna Madsen Lerfald!

Bill Seurer
Bill Seurer

BTW, the law dates from 2001 if you want to go look it up.

Bob Alberti
Bob Alberti

Color me skeptical. Altruism towards "the little guy" is more often than not the packaging in which price-gouging corporations promote the legislation they purchase from Congress. If Congress really wanted to protect "the little guy" they'd enforce antitrust legislation so that the big oil industries wouldn't be in a position to dominate the US oil market in the first place.

Bill Seurer
Bill Seurer

Actually the price thing is to protect small stores from the big guys. Otherwise Kwik Trip could move into an area, sell gas below cost for a while and run Bob's Pump'n'Grunt out of business, and then later sell their gas for whatever they like.

Brad Benson
Brad Benson

Wait, I can't write a check for dinner anywhere anymore but you can write a check to buy a Super America and they hand you the keys before the check clears?

ElliotPark
ElliotPark

You really should identify the name of Sarameh's lawyer to protect the rest of the planet from his or her terrible counsel.

Sarah German
Sarah German

Pretty sure I'll have enough Speedy Rewards points by the end of summer to get my own SA.

Bob Alberti
Bob Alberti

Anybody notice the funny part of this story? No, not the idea of a lawyer telling a client to hand over the keys to a business before the check clears... I mean the phrase "illegally low" price. Yes, the oil companies have enough clout that they can make competition - you know, one of the tenets of capitalism? - illegal, in order that they can fix prices - y'know, price fixing, the illegal part of anti-trust corruption - legally. Why are gas prices so high? Because prices are fixed, and competition is illegal. Where's Fox News on THIS anti-capitalist issue?

ludwitr
ludwitr

@Bob Alberti That's actually protecting mom and pop businesses.  A corporation could undercut everything that's sold in a particular market until they drive that business out, then re-apply normal prices.

Anon8566767
Anon8566767

@Bob Alberti http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predatory_pricing -- Basically, a corporate chain could use its war chest to severely undercut the independent station next door, ultimately driving it out of business. Usually hard to prove, but easy to do so in the case of a commodity, like gas.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Protect one mom and pop store, fuck the rest of the populous. That Ann Coulter bitch was actually right about one thing:" liberalism" is a mental defect

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Better reread your post. Economics is way over your head, little one.

ludwitr
ludwitr

@mingtran You seriously don't understand economics, do you?  There is a reason these laws exist.  This already happened.  Price fixing is illegal because people screwed over the entire populous by price fixing.

I would find you adorable and pat you on the head if you weren't a grown damn adult.

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