Three men were sentenced to 364-day jail term on Friday morning for falsifying emission reports to pass state motor vehicle inspections from a 1st Avenue auto mechanic shop, according to New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
Christopher Alcantara, 29, and Lewis Alcantara-Sosa, 23, both of Paterson. And Mariano Alcantara, 52, of Clifton, were handed down 364-day jail sentence as condition of three-year probation by New Jersey Superior Court Judge Edward A. Jerejian in Bergen County.
The three men operated Five Stars Auto Inspection at 34 1st Avenue. They charged customers $80 to $150 to pass failed vehicles through inspection by installing data simulators that generate false vehicle emission reports.
Authorities said the simulator was attached to the onboard diagnostic (OBD) system that monitors emission. OBD exists in most passenger cars and light-duty vehicles made after 1996.
During a vehicle inspection at a private inspection facility (PIF) or a central inspection facility (CIF) a state-approved “data link connector” is connected to the OBD to obtain emission data to determine if a vehicle passes or fails.
State investigation found from September 2013 through January 2014 the three men installed simulators in place of data link connector in vehicles that failed inspection to generate false data and allow the cars to pass.
Their shop was a private inspection facility. They installed the devices at their shop to pass failed vehicles and also took vehicles to central inspection sites in Lodi and Paramus, authorities said.
Investigators setup surveillance of the business and also sent in two undercover vehicles to pass inspection. In a subsequent raid at the shop authorities recovered six OBD simulators and records.
During that January 15, 2013 raid the three men who are relatives were arrested. Christopher Alcantara, Mariano Alcantara (an uncle of Christopher Alcantara), and Lewis Alcantara-Sosa (cousin of Christopher and nephew of Mariano) pleaded guilty on March 2 to tampering with public records and violating the Air Pollution Control Act, authorities said.
Authorities said the investigation was conducted by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.