3 Companies 11 Men Charged for “Deleting” Diesel Emission Controls: 1 Already Pleads Guilty
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division has been investigating three Michigan companies involved in defeating or modifying diesel engine emissions controls. Its findings are behind the charge they, along with 11 individuals, violated the Clean Air Act. It says this is “one of the largest of its kind in the United States.”
Why has one person charged in the diesel emissions scheme already pleaded guilty?
Howard City resident Glenn Hoezee, one of the 11 charged, has already pleaded guilty to interfering with diesel emissions monitoring devices. When asked if he was guilty, Hoezee said, “Yeah, I feel I don’t have any option and I don’t have the money to fight the government,” according to Michigan Live.
He’s facing up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Hoezee’s sentencing happens in August and he is currently free on bond. He is cooperating with the continuing criminal investigation.
The three companies are Accurate Truck Service, Griffin Transportation, and Diesel Freak, all in Michigan. Accurate and Griffin will pay $500,000 each, while Diesel Freak is paying $750,000 in fines. However, the judge involved in the decision could increase or reduce those fees.
Are these diesel emissions defeat charges rare?
Diesel Freak is charged with carrying out engine reprogramming for both Griffin Transportation and Accurate Truck Service. U.S. Attorney Mark Totten says that Diesel Freak modified emissions controls for at least 360 trucks over the past 10 years. The software originates in Italy and with distribution by a company in Ohio.
These charges, and the U.S. Environmental Agency Criminal Investigation Division investigations of companies involved in diesel defeat activity, have amounted to a number of companies found guilty. In Oakland County alone, which is the area just north of Detroit, over $10 million in fines for companies involved in the practice has been collected.
How long were these companies involved in diesel defeat activities?
The other 10 suspects are Ryan Lalone, 47, of Gaylord; Wade Lalone, 44, of Gaylord; Dustin Rhine, 32, of Indian River; James Sisson, 42, of Mt. Pleasant; Douglas Larsen, 51, of Wayland; Craig Scholten, 58, of Byron Center; Ryan Bos, 45, of Grandville; Robert Swainston, 50, of Hopkins; Randy Clelland, 33, of Grand Rapids; and Scott DeKock, 45, of Hudsonville. They allegedly tampered with emissions controls from 2012 to 2018, according to the charging papers.
These Michigan charges are only part of a larger nationwide investigation over emission defeat systems by the EPA. And just last month, the EPA even began a lawsuit against a Canadian diesel truck tuner selling aftermarket defeat devices. Many of the charges in the U.S. are for companies selling and/or installing widely available aftermarket diesel defeat devices.