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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Former Suzuki Employee Sentenced For Submitting False Report to EPA

Wayne Powell, a former employee of American Suzuki Motor Corporation headquartered in Brea, California, was sentenced today to one day in prison in federal court in Detroit for violating the Clean Air Act when he submitted a false end-of-year report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Justice Department announced.


According to court records, Powell was a Government Relations Analyst for Suzuki and was responsible for submitting documents to EPA regarding Suzuki’s compliance with motorcycle emission standards. Powell submitted Suzuki’s 2012 application to EPA for a “certificate of conformity,” which allows a vehicle manufacturer to sell vehicles in the United States.


At the end of the model year, Suzuki was required to submit to EPA an end-of-year report to show that it was in compliance with emission standards. The first end-of-year report Powell submitted to EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality in Ann Arbor in 2013 purported to claim “banked credits” to offset the excess emissions. However, because Suzuki had not participated in the banked credit program, it had no credits to use. EPA informed Powell it could not accept that report. Subsequently, on March 28, 2014, Powell submitted an amended end-of-year report to EPA in which he had altered the numbers of four motorcycle engine families, which resulted in a calculation that was within the emission limit. The altered numbers were false. Powell also falsely represented to EPA in the email that accompanied the amended report that “[t]he computer software that we use to gather this information did not count all of the units” and that he had “corrected some mistakes on the 2012 report.”


On Nov. 8, 2016, EPA announced that it had entered an administrative settlement with Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. and Suzuki Motor Corporation that resolved Clean Air Act violations for manufacturing, importing, and selling model year 2012 motorcycles that failed to meet the EPA average emission standard for the Suzuki on-highway motorcycle fleet, and for submitting falsified production reports based on incorrect motorcycle production volumes to demonstrate compliance with the emission standard. Suzuki agreed to pay a total civil penalty of $2,054,924.


Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood and Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch thanked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their work in this investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Counsel Kris Dighe of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Craig Weier of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Press Release Number: 
Updated December 14, 2017