Two Arlington used car dealerships and an inspection station have been charged with tampering with the state's emissions test process.
The Texas Attorney General's Office said A Quick Inspection used the illegal technique known as "clean scanning" for A Quick Inspection for Automax and Dollar Rent A Car Sales. All three businesses are belong to Hussein K. Mahrouq.
According to state investigators, emissions data from vehicles with clean emissions were substituted for vehicles that might have failed state emissions tests.
The discrepancy was discovered when state investigators compared the inspection stickers on cars and trucks sold by Automax with the data collected by emissions testing machines which interfaces with each vehicle's on-board diagnostic equipment.
During a 16-month period, A Quick Inspection clean-scanned about 97 vehicles, of which 82 were owned, sold or offered for sale by Automax and Dollar Rent A Car Sales, according to the lawsuit filed by Attorney General Greg Abbott's office.
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Investigators said one vehicle was used for numerous inspections, sometimes up to 20 times in one day.
Automax and Dollar Rent a Car Sales is accused of fraudulently selling 37 clean-scanned vehicles under the AirCheck program.
The Attorney General's office said people who bought the vehicles thinking they had a valid inspection sticker could be responsible for costly repairs to pass legitimate emissions testing when they need a new sticker.
Mahrouq is also accused of violating the state's AirCheck program.
The program, an effort to get high-polluting vehicles off the road, allows car customers to apply for up to $3,500 in vouchers toward the purchase of a new or qualifying used vehicle. Car dealers then get reimbursed for the vouchers used.
According to the lawsuit, Automax and Dollar Rent A Car Sales would take a vehicle that was 10 years old or older and transfer the title to the customer. The customer would then immediately trade it in so he or she could apply for the $3,500 voucher and then possibly buy a vehicle that was clean-scanned, the lawsuit said.
The AG's office also filed injunctions against the three businesses.
In March, the Environmental Protection Agency raided two other Arlington inspection stations accused of performing nearly 5,000 bogus inspections last year. The next month, authorities arrested a Dallas car shop employee was arrested on suspicion of certifying hundreds of vehicles without performing the requiring tests.