Last week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a statement detailing the arrests of eight motor vehicle inspectors, who are charged with falsifying inspection certificates. Combined, the eight inspectors certified more than thirteen thousand uninspected vehicles, often charging exorbitant amounts of money to push the certifications through.
The defendants allegedly used knowledge of the inspection system to certify cars that would not meet New York’s emissions standards. According to the Attorney General’s press release, the inspectors employed a process known as a clean scan to obtain the fraudulent inspections. In the clean scan process, the emissions of a different vehicle are measured after the information of the questionable vehicle is entered into the system. Several of the corporations employing these wayward inspectors have also been charged, as a lack of oversight allowed these fraudulent practices to continue unchecked. In addition to the criminal consequences discussed below, the inspectors and/or their employers could be held responsible if any of the vehicles that passed the emissions tests should not have been on the road and were subsequently involved in accidents.
Each of the defendants faces at lease one felony charge of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree. Defined in section 170.25 of the New York State Penal Code, ” [A] person is guilty of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree when, with knowledge that it is forged and with intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, he utters or possesses any forged instrument of a kind specified in section 170.10.” One such instrument defined in section 170.10 is a written instrument officially issued or created by a public office or government instrumentality, such as a motor vehicle inspection certificate. Some of the defendants face additional felony charges. Accompanying the felony charges, which if convicted would constitute prison time, the inspectors also face misdemeanor charges with hefty fines attached.
Attorney General Schneiderman’s press release, including the names of the alleged offenders and their places of business, can be found at the official attorney general website here.