OC DA, other officials say price gougers will face consequences during coronavirus outbreak

ORANGE COUNTY (KABC) -- Orange County officials are warning those who engage in price gouging will face consequences, including prosecution, amid concern over the novel coronavirus.

California 34th District Sen. Tom Umberg says the calls keep coming into his office.

"Those who take advantage of this crisis appropriately should be punished and there are tools to do so, there's even criminal sanction," Umberg said.

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During a Board of Supervisors meeting, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer made it clear: price gougers will be prosecuted.

"It's up to one year in county jail and a $10,000 fine," Spitzer said.

Several local jurisdictions are warning anyone tempted to sell items for unreasonably high prices.

Anaheim police reminded residents on Twitter that it's against the law to bring up the price of an item by more than 10%.

The city of Santa Ana made the same point in its local emergency proclamation.

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Santa Ana police called out to a store on West First Street which participates in the Women Infants and Children federal program, or WIC.

Participants of the program must meet income requirements to get nutritional assistance.

Police confirm they saw a gallon of milk on sale for $10 at the market.

One single mother and WIC participant, Yesenia Contreras, was outraged.

"Why are they taking advantage of people? It's not right, it's not right," she said.

Officers say the store owner claims he has had that price posted since 2010.

Eyewitness News stopped by the store the day after officers to find the gallon down to $7.99.

The owner, not wanting to go on camera, says the milk was not on the right shelves - those prices are for other items.

Anyone who witnesses price gouging can call 714-347-8405 or 1-800-952-5225.
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