Haverhill Emissions Inspector Ordered to Stop Inspecting Motor Vehicles as a Result of Investigation
Dozens of Passing Vehicle Inspection Stickers Unlawfully Issued
BOSTON — A motor vehicle emissions inspector who issued dozens of fraudulent inspection stickers while working in Haverhill has had his license revoked and is barred from collecting income from his inspection station for one year, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
According to the final judgment, entered at Suffolk Superior Court on Thursday, Aug. 23, the owner of Winter Street Auto Repair and Service, Rafael Duluc, unlawfully issued at least 47 passing vehicle inspection stickers in violation of the Massachusetts Clean Air Act when he conducted fraudulent motor vehicle emissions inspections. Duluc is now barred from deriving any income from his inspection station for one year, at which time he may reapply for his inspection license.
“Inspectors who fail to properly inspect cars not only commit fraud against the public, but also circumvent the laws designed to protect the public from dangerous pollutants,” AG Coakley said.
“The actions taken by the Attorney General send a strong message to the hundreds of inspection station operators in the Commonwealth,” said Registrar of Motor Vehicles Rachel Kaprielian. “Along with our partners in law enforcement and the Department of Environmental Protection, the Registry is committed to reducing emissions and making sure the public is receiving honest services.”
“The auto inspection program has helped Massachusetts make great strides towards lowering harmful auto emissions, which has helped to improve the air quality overall,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “We can’t allow inspectors to falsify data and undermine the program.”
The AG’s Office brought the action on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). This case is one of a number of enforcement actions resulting from an ongoing Environmental Strike Force (ESF) investigation, working together with the RMV.
For each of the fraudulent emissions inspections, Duluc did not conduct an on-board diagnostic (OBD) test on the motor vehicle as required, but instead tested a “clean” vehicle – one that he knew would pass the test – and used the results to issue a passing inspection sticker to the vehicle that came in for the inspection. This illegal practice is known as “clean scanning,” which not only violates the emissions inspection regulations and the Massachusetts Clean Air Act, but also the Massachusetts Regulation of Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act.
By approving motor vehicles that were not inspected, Duluc’s unlawful conduct created an unfair competitive advantage over other inspection stations and inspectors that have been complying with the law in conducting emissions inspections.
The Duluc case is the 13th judgment AG Coakley has obtained against inspection stations and inspectors for emissions inspection fraud since 2009. To report suspected vehicle emissions fraud or to find out more about the program, citizens should call the toll-free Massachusetts Vehicle Check Program’s Motorist Hotline at (866) 941-6277.
Consumers who want to find out more about the program should call the toll-free Massachusetts Vehicle Check Help Desk at (866) 941-6277 or visit the Massachusetts Vehicle Check website at www.mass.gov/vehiclecheck.
Assistant Attorneys General Tracy Triplett and Matthew Brock handled the case for the Attorney General’s Office. Attorney Jennifer Davis handled the case on behalf of the MassDEP with assistance from Stephen Spencer of MassDEP’s Environmental Strike Force, Craig Woleader and John Flemmi of MassDEP’s Enhanced Emissions and Safety Test Program. The late Attorney Robert M. Horacek of MassDOT and Mark LaFrance of the RMV handled the case on behalf of MassDOT and the RMV, respectively.