Diesel shops fined $600K for manufacturing, selling, installing emissions 'defeat devices'

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, April 7, 2023:

Illinois-based diesel shop fined by EPA for selling ‘defeat devices’

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week announced a consent order with Joshua Davis and three diesel shops after a complaint was filed by EPA last summer against all for manufacturing, selling and installing aftermarket "defeat devices" to get around emissions systems.

The order requires Davis, River City Diesel LLC, RCD Performance LLC, and Midwest Truck and 4WD Center LLC, based in East Peoria, Illinois, “to stop manufacturing, selling, offering to sell, and installing devices that bypass, defeat, or render inoperative EPA-approved emission controls and harm air quality, commonly referred to as Aftermarket Defeat Devices,” EPA said.

The settlement resolves a complaint filed in August 2022 in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, alleging that Davis and the other defendants' manufacturing, sales and installation of tens of thousands of defeat devices violated the Clean Air Act.

Davis and the companies will pay a $600,000 penalty, which was based on their financial situation, and agree to notify customers that they will no longer provide technical support or honor warranty claims for the defeat device products.

“By providing devices that avoid air emissions controls, defendants helped others cheat a system designed to protect the public’s health, in particular, elderly and young children,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s settlement holds them accountable for their unlawful acts and not only prohibits the future sale of aftermarket defeat devices by the Defendants, but also mandates Clean Air Act compliance training for all of their employees.”

[Related: EPA cracks down on emission system ‘defeat devices’]

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Former Idaho CDL tester pleads guilty to taking bribes for passing scores

Kelly Nathaniel Goodman, 71, of Gooding, Idaho, recently pleaded guilty to honest services wire fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit.

According to court records, Goodman was a third-party CDL tester contracted with the Idaho Transportation Department since the 1990s until late 2021.

According to Hurwit, Goodman “engaged in a scheme and artifice to defraud ITD’s right to honest services while serving as an Idaho CDL skills tester.” 

Goodman reportedly accepted bribes in return for providing passing scores on Idaho CDL skills tests and specifically pleaded guilty to receiving a bribe on Aug. 31, 2021, in return for giving an individual a passing score on an Idaho CDL skills test.

Between December 2017 and May 2020, Goodman accepted numerous bribes in exchange for giving passing scores on Idaho CDL skills tests. Hurwit said that during that time, Goodman received at least $38,000 in bribes in exchange for giving passing scores on Idaho CDL skills tests.

Goodman is scheduled to be sentenced on June 22 and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. As part of a plea agreement, Goodman agreed to pay restitution to the ITD and the U.S. Department of Transportation, and to pay a forfeiture money judgment of at least $38,000. 

[Related: California CDL fraud scheme ends with 20 convictions]