Hendersonville Man Is Sentenced To Prison For Violating the Clean Air Act By Selling Thousands Of Illegal Devices That Defeat Required Vehicle Emissions Control Systems
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
Three others were previously sentenced for their involvement in the fraudulent scheme
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Today, Chief U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced Matthew Sidney Geouge, 35, of Hendersonville, N.C., to one year and one day in prison for conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act by selling more than 14,000 illegal devices that defeat required vehicle emissions control systems, also known as “defeat devices,” announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Geouge was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release, six months of which will be in home confinement, and to pay a civil penalty of $1.3 million to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and $1.2 million in restitution to the IRS. In addition to the Clean Air Act violation, Geouge was also sentenced for tax evasion.
Charles Carfagno, Special Agent in Charge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID) and Donald “Trey” Eakins, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), Charlotte Field Office, join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.
Geouge’s co-conspirators were previously sentenced for their roles in the scheme after pleading guilty to conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act:
- John A. Slagel, 52, of Fairbury, Illinois, was sentenced to three years of probation, to include six months of home confinement, and was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and to pay a $150,000 fine.
- Joshua L. Davis, 43, of Metamora, Illinois, was sentenced to three years of probation, to include six months of home confinement, and was ordered to perform 80 hours of community service and to pay a $50,000 fine.
- Spade Kaosu Bailly, 50, of Hendersonville, was sentenced to three years of probation, to include six months of home confinement, and was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and to pay a $10,000 fine.
“Tuners” are devices capable of defeating vehicles’ computerized emissions controls, in violation of the Clean Air Act. In 2008, Geouge approached a company that manufactured tuners and he tailored software programs for the tuners known as “tunes,” designed to maximize the engine power of particular vehicles resulting in significant increases in harmful air emissions. Beginning in 2012, Slagel worked for and eventually owned the company that manufactured the tuners. Davis and Bailly conspired with Geouge and created other companies that sold tuners manufactured by Slagel’s company with Geouge’s tunes installed on them. In total, the co-conspirators sold far in excess of 14,000 illegal tuners, worth millions of dollars.
The EPA issued a notice of violation to Geouge in 2015. However, Geouge continued to sell and service illegal devices. Geouge also evaded paying a penalty owed to the EPA, and taxes owed to the IRS, by having another individual receive the income he earned from the sale of the illegal devices.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked the EPA-CID and IRS-CI for their coordination and investigation of the case.
Assistant United States Attorney Steven Kaufman, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.
Updated June 23, 2022