Reichenbach Oil Co. charged with over-billing customers

fuel oil settlementPennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett's office has charged the owners of an Allentown-area fuel oil company with overbilling customers, including allegations of forging invoices and selling thousands of gallons of oil that didn't exist.

Brothers Daniel Reichenbach Jr., 42, and William Reichenbach, 45, face one count of theft, deceptive business practices, forgery and other charges in the case. John J. Waldron, attorney for William Reichenbach, told Consumer Ally they were looking to work with the prosecutors to come to a mutual understanding and "see if we can work things out."

The investigation was sparked after an employee of Reichenbach Oil Co. reported suspicions over the company's billing practices to the AG's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

According to a statement from the AG, an investigation allegedly showed 27 fuel oil delivery invoices sent to customers in May 2008 were forged and customers were over billed a total of $3,510.

The investigation showed another 549 invoices were created in a manner that indicated they were also allegedly forged. Corbett said in the statement inventory records showed that from February 2008 to May 2008 the company sold 18,598 gallons of fuel oil and 3,926 gallons of kerosene that it did not have in inventory.

Waldron and Brian Collins, attorney for Daniel Reichenbach, both told Consumer Ally their clients have been cooperating with the investigation since it started two years ago and have already paid back questioned amounts.

Waldron said the company delivered oil to the customers to take care of any discrepancy.

Waldron said the family-owned business does about $25 million in sales a year and makes about 25,000 deliveries -- so the amount in question is relatively small.

"We are confident that this matter will be resolved in a reasonable fashion, for both the company and their customers, and that the Reichenbach name and reputation, developed through over 90 years of service to the community, will remain untarnished," Collins said in an e-mail to Consumer Ally.
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