MassDEP’s Environmental Strike Force, Registry of Motor Vehicles Catch Faulty Auto Emissions Testers, Inspection Stations
BOSTON – An investigation by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Environmental Strike Force, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), has resulted in penalties and suspended emission inspection licenses for three individuals and two inspection stations, after each admitted to conducting fraudulent automobile emissions inspections.
“Our Environmental Strike Force, with assistance from the RMV, will continue to pursue allegations of fraudulent emission inspections throughout the year and across the state in order to maintain an accurate air emissions test that is fair for motorists and inspection stations alike,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “Inspection stickers awarded to cars that don’t meet our air quality standard short-change us all.”
“The penalties announced today are significant for the stations and individuals involved,” said Registrar of Motor Vehicles Rachel Kaprielian. “However, even more significant is the negative impact these fraudulent actions have on the quality of air we all breathe. Our customers, as well as the hundreds of emission and inspection station operators, need to remember the RMV and MassDEP are watching their operations closely.”
The individuals and inspection stations involved in the investigation include:
* Luis Lazala, who was penalized $8,000 after he admitted to conducting eight fraudulent emission inspections at Commonwealth Motors in Lawrence between August 5 and November 19, 2011. The financial penalty was suspended entirely based on demonstrated inability to pay. Lazala’s emission inspection license was also revoked for eight months, and his license was suspended for another two years. The remainder of his license suspension will be stayed if Lazala successfully reapplies and is granted a license and continues to demonstrate compliance with the regulations over the remainder of that two-year suspension.
* Commonwealth Motors of Lawrence, which was assessed a $16,000 penalty after it was determined that Lazala performed the eight fraudulent emission inspections at Commonwealth Motors using a former employee’s license holder’s log-in and entry code. MassDEP suspended $4,000 of the assessed penalty pending demonstrated compliance with the emissions testing program for two years. Commonwealth Motors’ license to conduct auto emission inspections was also suspended for two years, but stayed, pending demonstrated compliance with the program.
The Massachusetts Environmental Strike Force, an interagency unit, comprised of 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. Violations of Massachusetts environmental statutes can be reported to the Strike Force by calling 1-888-VIOLATE or visiting www.mass.gov/dep/about/callnow.htm.
MassDEP’s Inspection and Maintenance (I&M) Program is responsible for the motor vehicle emissions tests conducted as part of the Massachusetts Vehicle Check Program, helping to assure cleaner air and safer roads for the Commonwealth. The Massachusetts Vehicle Check Program is jointly administered by MassDEP and MassDOT/RMV Division. Information regarding MassDEP’s motor vehicle emission inspection program can be found at: http://massvehiclecheck.state.ma.us/.