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L.A. smog check shop shut down for certifying dirty cars

June 15, 2010 | 12:28 pm

A South Los Angeles smog check shop has been shut down by state regulators and may face criminal charges for routinely certifying pollution-belching vehicles as smog-free.

Undercover surveillance by the state Bureau of Automotive Repair found that in a two-hour period, each of the 13 smog tests conducted at AM PM Smog at 6401 1/2 S. Avalon Blvd., was fraudulent. The investigation also found that vehicles were being tested and certified without even being present.

In addition to suspending the smog check license of the shop owned by Devoney Dashay Nolberto, state officials have also referred the case to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. The district attorney could file criminal charges against smog check technician Jermaine Elroy Williams and another employee, Darnell Tyrone Usher.

No one answered the phone number listed for AM PM Smog Tuesday morning.

The surveillance was part of a crackdown on smog check fraud focused on “clean piping,” in which technicians use exhaust from a clean vehicle while entering data for a dirty one.

A state audit earlier this year found widespread fraud statewide, with almost one-third of older model vehicles failing surprise roadside tests even though they had earned passing grades at inspection stations.

--Tony Barboza