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Crime & Cases December 28, 2012  RSS feed

SAY INSPECTORS DID DIRTY JOBS

Issued DMV Permits Without Checking Trucks
by Robert Pozarycki

The owners of two auto repair shops in Bushwick and Williamsburg were cuffed by state investigators last Wednesday, Dec. 19, following an undercover investigation in which they allegedly sold and issued inspection stickers for heavy-duty diesel trucks without conducting the required safety or emissions tests.

Law enforcement sources identified them as 46-year-old Mark Asselta of Howard Beach, who owns the J&M Truck Repair shop at 53 Scott Ave. in Bushwick; and 54-yearold Shlomo Freedman of Brooklyn, proprietor of the Myer Auto Center at 480 Flushing Ave. in Williamsburg.

Both Asselta and Freedman were arraigned in Kings County Criminal Court last Wednesday for criminal possession of a forged instrument and other charges after being snared in the undercover probe conducted by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Office of Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. If convicted, they each face between 2 1/3 and seven years behind bars.

Schneiderman stated that Asselta and Freedman are accused of issuing to the undercover agents official DMV inspection certificates for heavy-duty diesel vehicles (HDDV) without subjecting the vehicles presented to standard safety checks and emissions measures.

It was noted that the DEC had brought to each shop a vehicle which had been rigged to fail a proper inspection, as the rig spewed fumes and soot which violated the state’s emissions standards.

“These emission standards are crucial for ensuring that dangerous soot particulates aren’t spewed into the air we breathe,” Schneiderman said in a press release. “These perpetrators will be held accountable for blackening our skies and our children’s lungs.”

By law, heavy-duty diesel vehicles must be inspected annual at a DMV-licensed station to ensure that the rig meets all safety and emissions standards. The tests include the electronic gauging of pollutants from fumes emitted through the tail pipe.

Undercover agents with the DEC brought the rigged truck to both sta- tions and asked for inspection stickers. Without conducting the proper tests, law enforcement sources said, the repair shops issued to the agents not only certificates indicating that the trucks were inspected, but also affixed to the windshields the required DMV inspection decal for 2013.

DEC Investigator Kevin Gilmartin of its Division of Law Enforcement, Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation, conducted the probe under the supervision of Lieutenants John Fitzpatrick and Bernard Rivers, Capt. Joseph Schneider and Major Scott Florence.

Also assisting in the investigation were Attorney General’s Office Investigators Edward Ortiz and Sixto Santiago, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Kenneth Morgan, Deputy Chief Investigator John McManus and Chief of Investigations Dominick Zarrella.

Assistant Attorney General Jason P. Garelick of the Environmental Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief for Criminal Prosecutions Stephanie Swenton, Bureau Chief Gail Heatherly and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan.