Saturday, 2:15 PM
State targets bogus emissions inspections
By Globe Staff
Just ask for "Joe the Fish."
State officials are alleging that if you used that password you could get a bogus emission test at a Dorchester service station.
The attorney general's office said today it had filed lawsuits against Dorchester Auto Service Inc. and another station in Somerville. It also said the state Department of Environmental Protection was seeking to fine and strip the inspection licenses from five other stations for conducting fraudulent car inspections. A total of 12 inspectors were allegedly involved.
"Emissions inspection stations and inspectors must recognize that they cannot circumvent or ignore the law without legal ramifications," said Attorney General Martha Coakley.
The actions by authorities came after a joint investigation of emissions inspection stations by the attorney general and the DEP, in coordination with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The probe found that stations were allegedly issuing passing inspection stickers on cars that hadn't actually been tested, the attorney general's office said in a statement.
The emissions tests were allegedly conducted on a different vehicle and then those results were used to issue a passing sticker to the vehicle that came in for testing.
The five stations facing penalties from the DEP included two in Framingham, two in Lawrence, and one in Everett.
At Dorchester Auto Service, motorists who wanted to avoid expensive repairs for a car that had already failed the test, or that had an illuminated check engine light, would ask for "Joe the Fish," the attorney general's office said. Employee George C. Nelson of Cambridge would allegedly conduct a fraudulent inspection and issue a passing certificate even though the car had not been inspected.
A telephone message left at Dorchester Auto Service this afternoon wasn't immediately returned. Nelson didn't immediately return a message left at his home.