Somerset Man Indicted for Improperly Conducting Safety and Emissions Inspections of Vehicles Including School Buses
Defendant Allegedly Unlawfully Issued State Inspection Stickers to Untested Vehicles
BOSTON — A Somerset man and his inspection company have been indicted for conducting improper safety and emission inspections of commercial vehicles, including school buses, tractor trailers and construction equipment, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. He then allegedly issued state inspection stickers on those untested vehicles.
Richard Silvia, age 71, of Somerset, was indicted on Monday by a Statewide Grand Jury on charges of Violating Vehicle Emissions and Safety Inspection Requirements (41 counts) and Fraudulently Issuing Inspection Stickers (24 counts). His company, Bristol County Tire Service, Inc. (BCT) was indicted on charges of Violating Vehicle Emissions and Safety Inspection Requirements (3 counts) and Fraudulently Issuing an Inspection Sticker.
“We allege that this defendant and his company posed a significant threat to public health and safety by improperly conducting inspections of large vehicles, including school buses, and then fraudulently issuing state inspection stickers for them,” AG Coakley said. “This case was brought forward as a result of a true collaborative effort between our office, MassDEP, DOT/RMV, and the Massachusetts Environmental Police.”
“The Environmental Strike Force continues to work to identify and prosecute those cases involving phony issuance of inspection stickers,” said Kenneth Kimmell, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). “The safety and emissions program is in place to protect public health and safety and we will not allow this important program to be undermined.”
In September 2012, the AG’s Office began an investigation after the matter was initially investigated and referred by MassDEP. Silvia owns BCT, a private mobile inspection company that conducts mandatory state inspections of commercial vehicles at a fleet’s location.
Authorities allege that between 2011 and 2012, Silvia issued inspections stickers for large commercial vehicles, including school buses, tractor trailers, and construction equipment, on which he did not conduct the mandatory safety inspections. Also during that time period, Silvia allegedly repeatedly issued state inspections stickers to vehicles that were not actually inspected for emissions by using one vehicle to conduct the inspection and printing stickers for numerous other vehicles.
This conduct allegedly occurred when Silvia was performing inspections on school buses in Orleans, Dennis, and Plymouth, and in Freetown on tractor trailers and construction equipment. It was first discovered by the MassDEP through a detailed analysis of data by their Motor Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program, then through inspections by the Registry of Motor Vehicles, culminating in a surprise inspection by MassDEP members of the Massachusetts Environmental Strike Force.
The investigation also found evidence that Silvia allegedly used another inspector’s commercial driver’s license and pin number to conduct inspections on heavy-duty commercial vehicles that he was not licensed to inspect.
These charges stem from an investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Strike Force, an interagency unit which is overseen by AG Coakley, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, and MassDEP Commissioner Kimmell. The Strike Force comprises prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office, Environmental Police Officers assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, and investigators and engineers from the MassDEP who investigate and prosecute crimes that harm or threaten the state’s water, air, or land and that pose a significant threat to human health.
A Statewide Grand Jury returned indictments against Silvia and BCT on Monday. They will be arraigned in Bristol, Barnstable, and Plymouth Superior Courts on dates yet to be determined.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Rainer, Chief of the Environmental Crimes Strike Force, and Assistant Attorney General Sara Farnum, of AG Coakley's Environmental Crimes Division, with assistance from Stephen Spencer and Rich Tomczyk of MassDEP’s Environmental Strike Force, Julie Ross and John Flemmi of MassDEP’s Bureau of Waste Prevention, Environmental Police and MassDOT/RMV.