Two Charlotte men have been sentenced to prison for conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act by conducting false vehicle emission inspections.
Ronald Eugene Kinard, 46, was sentenced Monday to six months in prison. Hell serve another six months on home detention.
U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. also ordered Kinard to pay a $10,000 fine and perform 50 hours of community service.
Kinards co-conspirator, Jack Bard Haney, 48, was sentenced earlier this month to six months in prison. Hell also serve another six months on home detention.
Both Kinard and Haney are prohibited from conducting vehicle inspections in the future.
Kinard was the owner of Autoworks, a local vehicle repair shop in north Charlotte. Haney was one of his employees. Both were licensed by the state of North Carolina to conduct inspections to test vehicle emissions.
Kinard and Haney were accused of using substitute vehicles to falsely pass vehicles that would have failed emissions inspections, an illegal activity known as clean scanning.
Kinard conducted more /than 1,180 false vehicle inspections from about January 2010 through August 2011, prosecutors alleged. Haney was accused of conducting more than 100 false inspections.
In exchange for the false passing results, prosecutors said, Kinard and Haney typically charged more than the standard inspection fee, sometimes as high as $100 per vehicle.
For about half of North Carolinas 100 counties, including Mecklenburg, annual emissions inspections connected to federal clean air rules are mandated.
An investigation by the Observer and The (Raleigh) News & Observer in 2011 found that crooked garages had undermined the program by faking results, sometimes for bribes.
Gov. Bev Perdue, in response to the newspapers investigation, said she ordered the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles to conduct a full review of the states auto inspection system.
The case against Kinard and Haney came amid a crackdown against unscrupulous garages.
The DMV said it had filed criminal and civil charges against nearly 600 garages and employees who passed cars suspiciously soon after they failed at another garage.
DMV records showed the garage owned by Kinard performed 12,381 emissions tests during a recent three-year-period. All but 854 vehicles passed.