Local News

Durham inspector pleads guilty to falsifying emissions tests

Posted October 1, 2012 4:52 p.m. EDT

— A second emissions inspector at two Durham automotive shops has pleaded guilty to taking kickbacks in exchange for falsifying the results of annual emissions tests, authorities said Monday.

Clinton J. Matthews, 33, of Durham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act and making a false statement. He will be sentenced later.

Matthews worked at Express Auto Sales and Car Care Express Auto Sales and Services, both in Durham, and federal authorities say he and others conspired take $150 to $225 payments to pass vehicles that would have otherwise failed the required state emissions test.

Authorities say the group would use a separate vehicle that wouldn't register a vehicle identification number when attached to the emissions analyzer to produce a passing test for the suspect vehicles.

Between March and July 2010, the group "clean scanned" at least 817 vehicles, and Matthews was involved in 135 of them, authorities said.

Another inspector at the two shops, Angel Dario Rodriguez Nunez, 30, pleaded guilty in April to the same charges.