Wrentham Auto Emissions Inspectors and Service Station to Pay Up to $116,000 for Conducting Fraudulent Inspections
Bill’s Automotive Center Allegedly Issued 67 Passing Stickers to Cars with Failed Emissions Control Systems; Defendants Suspended from Conducting Future Inspections
BOSTON — Two motor vehicle emissions inspectors have agreed to pay up to $116,000 to settle allegations of issuing up to 67 fraudulent passing inspection stickers to cars with failed emissions control systems at a service station in Wrentham, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
According to the complaint, filed Thursday with the consent judgment in Suffolk Superior Court, between November 2008 and January 2010, William or “Bill” Daly, of Wrentham, and his nephew Michael Daly, of Raynham, conducted these fraudulent inspections at Bill’s Automotive Center, Inc. by testing vehicles they knew would pass the emissions test, printing passing certificates, and using those certificates to falsely represent that vehicles with failed emissions control systems had passed.
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 putting these faulty vehicles back on the road to make a few extra bucks, we believe these licensed motor vehicle inspectors intentionally violated the law that protects the air we breathe from pollutants,” AG Coakley said. “Fortunately, because of enforcement cases like these, we have seen a significant drop in these illegal practices, which is a benefit to both businesses and public health.”
“This initiative has been a success by identifying and bringing to justice those who cheat the system by issuing phony emissions inspection stickers,” said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “The Environmental Strike Force has worked in tandem with the Registry of Motor Vehicles and our law enforcement partners at the MassAG, and will continue to investigate such fraud and ensure that the many station and station inspectors who do it right are provided with a level playing field.”
“Today’s announcement is further evidence that our partnership with MassDEP and Attorney General Coakley is improving the integrity of the Massachusetts Vehicle Check program,” said Registrar of Motor Vehicles Rachel Kaprielian. “We are all committed to protecting public health by exposing and stopping improper emissions practices.”
In addition to these violations, the complaint alleges that Bill’s Automotive and the owner of the property, JMB Realty, Inc., violated the Massachusetts Clean Waters Act by maintaining a leaking industrial wastewater holding tank that discharged polluted wastewater into the groundwater. Bill’s Automotive also allegedly violated the Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Management Act by failing to register with the MassDEP as a “small quantity generator” of waste oil and by failing to comply with certain signage requirements.
The AG’s Office brought the action on behalf of the MassDEP and the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). The Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Program, administered jointly by the MassDEP and the RMV, is the Commonwealth’s primary tool for combating the emission of excess pollution from motor vehicles. Motor vehicles are a significant source of pollutants that are known to have especially adverse health effects on children, the elderly, and persons already suffering from respiratory ailments.
This settlement is the 11th judgment the AG’s Office has obtained against inspection stations and inspectors from emissions inspection fraud since 2009. Under the terms of the consent judgment, Bill Daly is prohibited from ever conducting another vehicle emissions inspection again, while Michael Daly will lose his license for 15 months. The judgment also bars Bill’s Automotive from conducting any vehicle inspections during two, three-month periods over the next year and a half.
Both inspectors and the station must pay up to $116,000 in civil penalties. Bill Daly, Bill’s Automotive and JMB Realty have agreed to pay up to a total of $100,000 to the Commonwealth, and Michael Daly is required to pay a $16,000 civil penalty. A portion of their penalties will be waived if they comply with the judgment.
In addition to the civil penalties and licensure suspensions/revocation, the consent judgment requires Bill’s Automotive and JMB Realty to hire a Licensed Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup Professional (LSP) to determine if industrial wastewater leaked from the underground industrial wastewater storage tank and contaminated the soil surrounding the tank and to remedy any deficiencies so that the tank complies with current regulatory requirements.
This case is one of a number of enforcement actions resulting from an ongoing Environmental Strike Force (ESF) investigation.
Consumers who want to find out more can call the toll-free Massachusetts Vehicle Check Help Desk (866-941-6277) or visit the Massachusetts Vehicle Check website at www.mass.gov/vehiclecheck.
The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Seth Schofield of Attorney General Coakley’s Environmental Protection Division, with assistance from MassDEP Senior Counsel Jennifer Davis, along with Stephen Spencer of MassDEP’s Environmental Strike Force, Craig Woleader and John Flemmi of MassDEP’s Enhanced Emissions and Safety Test Program, Tim Cahill, MassDEP Senior Financial Analysis Manager, Mingyuan Pan and John Reinhardt of MassDEP’s Industrial Wastewater Program, and Michael Devaney of MassDOT/RMV, respectively.