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Press Release

New Jersey man indicted for nationwide scheme to tamper with diesel pollution control systems in violation of the Clean Air Act

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Allegedly accessed trucks’ computer systems remotely to delete software tied to pollution control systems

Tacoma – A 43-year-old Columbia, New Jersey man was arraigned today on an indictment charging him with conspiracy and thirteen counts of violating the Clean Air Act for his scheme to interfere with pollution control software on diesel trucks, announced U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Jonathan Achtemeier entered pleas of not guilty to all counts. Trial is scheduled in front of U.S. District Judge Tiffany M. Cartwright on June 10, 2024.

“Working with a laptop from the comfort of his own home, the defendant allegedly remotely tampered with pollution control systems to enable trucks nationwide to cause massive amounts of unlawful pollution.  His actions degraded the air in the Western District of Washington and nationwide in a manner that harms us all,” said U.S. Attorney Gorman. “I am grateful to the employee of a local company who came forward and exposed the fact that trucks in his company’s fleet had been altered by the defendant.”

According to the indictment, Achtemeier conspired with mechanics in garages and operators of truck fleets to disable the anti-pollution software installed on diesel trucks. Achtemeier allegedly disabled the software remotely by connecting to laptops he had provided to various coconspirators. Some of the coconspirators would pass the laptop on to others seeking to have the anti-pollution software disabled on their trucks. Once the laptop was hooked up to the truck’s onboard computer, Achtemeier could access it from his computer and delete the software designed to slow the truck if the pollution control device was missing or malfunctioning.  Achtemeier allegedly altered the software after the mechanic had removed the pollution control equipment or in coordination with that process.

Removing the pollution control equipment and disabling the software results in trucks polluting at 30 to 1,200 times the level of a truck with pollution control systems.  Tampering with pollution control software is a violation of the Clean Air Act.

Achtemeier charged as much at $4,500 per truck for work that often took him two hours or less. Achtemeier advertised his services on social media nationwide, doing business as Voided Warranty Tuning (VWT) or Optimized Ag. Between 2018 and 2021 his company took in more than $5 million in gross profits.

The coconspirators in this case have service garages or truck fleets in various areas of Washington. The trucks that were altered range from pick-ups such as a Dodge R3500 to Kenworth and Freightliner semi-trucks.

Conspiracy is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Violating the Clean Air Act is punishable by up to two years in prison per count and a $250,000 fine.

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations.  A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID).

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lauren Watts Staniar and Seth Wilkinson, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Karla Perrin.  Ms. Perrin is an attorney with the EPA.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated April 8, 2024