Texas AG victorious against used car dealers

Bryan Cohen Sep. 20, 2011, 2:23pm


FORT WORTH, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced a final judgment and permanent injunction on Tuesday against the owner of two Arlington used car dealerships.

Hussein Mahrouq, Mahrouq Enterprises International Inc. and MEI Auto Repair allegedly used a company-owned inspection station to illegally falsify vehicle emissions testing results.

Mahrouq's dealerships, Automax and Dollar Rent a Car Sales, conducted emissions tests at a company-owned testing station called A Quick Inspection and allegedly used emissions data from vehicles with clean emissions as a substitute for vehicles whose mechanical condition might have caused them to fail.

Abbott alleged that the used cars and trucks sold by Automax and Dollar Rent A Car Sales were never actually subjected to emissions testing.

As part of Tuesday's judgment, the defendant companies, which no longer operate the inspection station named in the state's enforcement action, must submit a list of inspection stations they now rely on for emissions testing.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments will then check the databases of these stations and inform Automax of any clean-scanned vehicles it finds. The defendants must then notify purchasers who bought vehicles with allegedly falsified inspection stickers and retest those vehicles at the defendant's expense.

The defendant has also agreed to pay $50,000 in civil penalties and attorneys' fees to resolve the state's enforcement action.

A typical clean-scan operation involves a vehicle inspector attaching testing equipment to a "clean" vehicle that already passed the clean air inspection.

Next, the inspector enters an untested and potentially non-compliant vehicle's identification number, which allows an untested vehicle to pass its inspection, receive an inspection sticker and to enable it to be resold to buyers who think they are purchasing a properly inspected and approved vehicle.

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