BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a settlement on Wednesday with a Westport auto emissions inspector for allegedly conducting fraudulent inspections.
Mark Galhardo allegedly performed 33 fraudulent emissions inspections in violation of the state's Enhanced Emission and Safety Test program. As part of the settlement, Galhardo will pay a civil penalty totaling $10,000 and is prohibited from conducting any emissions inspections for one year. In light of the defendant's financial circumstances, the civil penalty will be waved if Galhardo complies with the terms of the settlement.
Coakley brought the action on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Registry of Motor Vehicles. According to a complaint filed in April, from June 2006 through January 2010, Galhardo allegedly conducted at least 33 fraudulent inspections at Norwest Inspections using an on-board diagnostic emissions test. The complaint alleges that for each fraudulent inspection, Galhardo conducted an OBD test on a different motor vehicle and then used those results to issue a passing sticker to the vehicle that came in for the inspection in a process called "clean scanning."
"The Massachusetts Enhanced Emissions and Safety Test Program is designed to protect consumers from deceptive practices and to protect public health and the environment," Coakley said. "We will continue to pursue those inspectors who circumvent this program by conducting fraudulent inspections."
MassDEP and MassRMV established the Enhanced Emissions and Safety Test Program in 1999 as part of a comprehensive plan to reduce air pollution and its health impact on state residents. The program requires that model year 1996 and newer passenger cars, trucks and SUVs, as well as 2008 and newer medium-duty vehicles, undergo an annual OBD emissions test. This is the seventh judgment obtained by Coakley's office in enforcement of the program.