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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Charlotte man was sentenced on Thursday, August 8, 2013, to serve 18 months in prison for conducting over 530 false vehicle emission inspections, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. also ordered Jassim Juburi, 40, of Charlotte, to stay under court supervision for three years following the prison term, and to a pay a $15,000 fine, which, if paid in full, can reduce Juburi’s term of supervised release to two years.
U.S. Attorney Tompkins is joined in making today’s announcement by Special Agent in Charge Maureen O’Mara of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID), Atlanta Area Office; Greg McLeod, Director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NC SBI); and Steven M. Watkins, Director of the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles License and Theft Bureau (NC DMV L&T).
According to court records and yesterday’s sentencing hearing, Juburi worked at Central Auto Inspection & Repair (Central Auto) in Charlotte, as a mechanic and a vehicle emissions inspector licensed by the state of North Carolina. As a state-licensed emissions inspector, Juburi conducted onboard diagnostic (OBD) inspections to test federally-mandated vehicle emissions. Court records show that from August 2010 to March 2012, and while employed at Central Auto, Juburi conducted 534 illegal vehicle emissions inspections, using surrogate vehicles to falsely pass those that would have failed emissions inspections. The illegal practice of utilizing substitute vehicles for emissions testing is referred to in the industry as “clean scanning.” Court records indicate that Juburi charged as much as $100 to clean scan a vehicle. According to yesterday’s sentencing hearing, law enforcement agents were able to obtain a fraudulent vehicle emissions certificate from Central Auto without ever producing a vehicle to be inspected. The fraudulent emissions test and certificate were generated by Juburi.
In March 2012, Juburi pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act by conducting false vehicle emissions inspections. Court records indicate that Juburi continued to conduct false inspections, even after entering a guilty plea on the charge. According to filed documents, between March and April 2012, Juburi conducted an additional 11 clean scans at Central Auto. Court records show that Juburi was unable to continue clean scanning vehicles after NC DMV L&T suspended Central Auto’s license to conduct emissions inspections. Central Auto’s license has been suspended for a period of 10 years.
Juburi has been in local federal custody since October 2012, following a court-ordered bond revocation for continuing the fraudulent conduct after entering a guilty plea. Juburi will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending placement by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The Clean Air Act requires vehicle emission inspections in geographic regions that exceed national ambient air quality standards. According to the EPA, the Charlotte metropolitan area exceeds the 8-hour standard set for Ozone, a potent irritant that can cause lung damage and other types of respiratory problems.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the EPA’s criminal investigation division, NC SBI’s Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit, and NC DMV License and Theft Bureau, with assistance from the North Carolina Division of Air Quality, Mobile Sources Compliance Branch. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.