Two Arlington Used Car Dealerships Charged With Unlawfully 'Clean Scanning' Vehicles
FORT WORTH -- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today charged the owner of a certified vehicle emissions inspection station with manipulating the State’s testing protocols. According to the State’s enforcement action, the defendant tampered with the emissions test process in order to ensure substandard vehicles passed their state inspection tests.
An investigation by the Attorney General’s Office revealed that defendants Hussein Mahrouq and MEI Auto Repair, LLC used their inspection station to help their used car lots circumvent state vehiclce emission tests. The defendant’s used car lots, Automax and Dollar Rent a Car Sales, and its emissions testing facility were part of a “clean scanning” scheme. According to state investigators, emissions data from vehicles with clean emissions were substituted for vehicles whose mechanical condition might have caused them to fail state emission tests.
Attorney General's lawsuit against Mahrouq Enterprises and the defendant's used car lots
The Office of the Attorney General worked with the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) to jointly investigate vehicle inspection stickers that appeared on cars and trucks sold by Automax. Based on emissions inspection data, authorities determined that certain vehicles were never actually subjected to emissions testing. Customers who purchased these untested vehicles assumed the inspection stickers were valid. As a result, those customers could have been harmed by the fraudulent scheme if future testing revealed that costly repairs were necessary to pass legitimate emissions tests.
In addition to harming vehicle purchasers, the defendant’s scheme violated the State’s “AirCheck” program rules, which target high-polluting vehicles for removal from Texas highways by previewing incentives to dealers and customers who participate in the program. AirCheck, administered locally by the NCTCOG, allows customers to apply for up to $3,500 in vouchers toward the purchase of new or qualifying used vehicles. The program then reimburses car dealers for the vouchers used by customers to purchase vehicles. In this case, Automax and Dollar Rent a Car Sales were fraudulently selling later model -- but clean-scanned -- vehicles under the AirCheck program.
A typical clean-scan operation involves a vehicle inspector attaching testing equipment to a “clean” vehicle that already passed the clean air inspection. Then, the inspector enters an untested and potentially non-compliant vehicle’s identification number (VIN), which is not the vehicle being tested. As a result, an untested vehicle passes its inspection, receives an inspection sticker and is capable of being sold.
By investigating and reviewing data collected by emissions testing machines, NCTCOG investigators can uncover illegal testing schemes, as in this case. The testing equipment, which interfaces with each vehicle’s onboard diagnostic equipment, helps investigators uncover when a vehicle has been issued another vehicle’s testing results and inspection sticker.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Breaking News Archives
Election issues under scrutiny in Floresville (August 30, 2016)
AgriLife Extension to offer programs on Zika, mosquito management in SA (August 24, 2016)
Falls City plans early release for Bruni game Aug. 26 (August 23, 2016)
Most Wanted Fugitive Captured in San Antonio (August 23, 2016)
Watch for signal lights at Standish and Fourth streets (August 23, 2016)
Filing deadline Aug. 25 for Floresville council Place 3, today for other offices (August 22, 2016)
Nixon-Smiley CISD closed first day of school (August 22, 2016)
Rain totals for the week (August 22, 2016)
Overnight flooding causes widespread damage in Wilson County; emergency... (August 21, 2016)
Shelter for flood victims open in Floresville (August 21, 2016)
Poth football scrimmage moved (August 18, 2016)
Counterfeit $20 bills spotted in Floresville (August 17, 2016)
DPS Reminds Drivers to Obey Traffic Laws, Watch For Children As New School... (August 17, 2016)
Weather moves Falls City Aug. 18 scrimmage (August 17, 2016)
Johnny Garcia: One of Texas 10 Most Wanted Fugitives (August 16, 2016)
Flash flood watch issued (August 15, 2016)
Local rain reports (August 15, 2016)
Authorities seek information on vehicle theft (August 11, 2016)
Texas Rangers arrest Nixon city manager (August 11, 2016)
What’s going on? Floresville Police Department closed (August 11, 2016)
Floresville Event Center fire-suppression system fails inspection; city... (August 10, 2016)
Venue change for Rancho de las Cabras film (August 10, 2016)
Police arrest suspect in Nixon armed robbery (August 3, 2016)
Prescribed Burn Planned for Government Canyon State Natural Area Wednesday (August 2, 2016)