Texas AG Stops Auto Dealer from ‘Clean Scanning’ Vehicle Emissions

May 10, 2010

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has resolved the state’s enforcement action against a Garland, Texas, car dealer that was investigated for manipulating mandatory vehicle emissions test results.

Under an agreed final judgment filed with the state district court, the dealer is prohibited from unlawfully substituting an untested or non-passing vehicle’s test results with passing results from compliant vehicles.

The agreement requires Randall Reed’s Prestige Ford Lincoln Mercury of Garland to implement policies that ensure its vehicle emission testing procedures comply with state air quality laws governing emissions testing and vehicle sales.

According to state authorities, Prestige had engaged in a “clean scanning” scheme, which means they used emissions data from a “clean” vehicle as a substitute for a vehicle whose condition might have caused it to fail emissions tests.

The Office of the Attorney General’s Office, the Dallas County Clean Air Emissions Task Force and the North Central Texas Council of Government jointly investigated vehicle inspection stickers that appeared on cars and trucks that were never actually subjected to emissions testing. In many cases, the fraudulently-obtained stickers originated from the clean-scanning schemes at specific testing sites. Some of these testing facilities’ inspectors have already been charged criminally by local law enforcement agencies.

The current agreed final judgment is part of an ongoing effort by state and local authorities to crack down on fraud by authorized emissions testing facilities.

To resolve the attorney general’s investigation, defendant Randall Reed’s Prestige Ford Lincoln Mercury entered into an agreed judgment with the state and will pay $227,000 in civil penalties and $15,000 in attorneys’ fees under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

In addition, the dealership is prohibited from marketing vehicles that have not been emissions-tested in accordance with state law standards for reducing air pollution. The defendant also must not falsely represent that its vehicles have passed inspections as a pretext for selling vehicles. In addition, over a five-year period, the defendant must contact the Texas Department of Public Safety to screen the data for any irregularities experienced during vehicle emissions tests.

Source: Texas Attorney General’s Office

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