Georgia Emission Inspectors Indicted on Selling Bogus Certificates…Facing Over 50 Years behind Bars

| February 28, 2011 | 0 Comments


ATLANTA, GA –  JACKIE BAKER, 52, of Atlanta, Georgia, JAMES HINTON, 41, of Riverdale, Georgia, and MICHAEL KELLY, 40, of Atlanta, Georgia have been indicted on federal charges for fraudulently issuing emissions certificates to hundreds of cars that would have failed the emissions inspection required by law.  James Hinton was arraigned today before United States Magistrate Judge C. Christopher Hagy.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of the case, “Environmental crimes threaten the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the world we’ll leave to future generations.  Over a five-month period, these three defendants allegedly issued over 1,400 fraudulent emissions certificates to cars that would have failed the emissions inspection required by the Clean Air Act and Georgia law, in exchange for under-the-table payments of $100 to $125.  This kind of shortsighted greed results in long-term damage, causing the ongoing release of dangerous pollutants into the atmosphere and damaging Atlanta’s air quality.  The defendants have lost their inspection licenses and now face federal charges.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court:  BAKER, HINTON, and KELLY were licensed emissions inspectors working at a “Stop N Shop” in College Park, Georgia through May 2009, when they lost their licenses.  During the five-month period from January to May 2009, the defendants allegedly issued over 1,400 fraudulent emissions certificates to car owners, falsely stating that the owners’ cars had passed the required emissions test.  Instead of connecting the owners’ real cars to the emissions equipment, however, the defendants connected different cars that they knew would pass the test.  During the tests, the computer system automatically transmitted emissions testing data to a statewide database accessible by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.  The defendants manually entered other information into the system, such as the make, model, and vehicle identification number, to make it appear that they were testing the owners’ real cars, many of which had already failed an emissions test or showed equipment malfunctions.  The defendants allegedly charged $100 to $125 for a fraudulent emissions test, far more than the usual $20 they charged for a legitimate inspection.  Georgia law prohibits inspection stations from charging more than $25 for an emissions test. they only made $125 per certificate and now they are facing over two years on each count? Something just doesn’t sound right with that deal.

Source: US Dept. of Justice

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