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Sentence in local smog check scam

OW Staff Writer | 8/10/2017, midnight

A San Fernando Valley man this week received an eight-month sentence—to be split between prison and home detention—for violating the Clean Air Act by conducting scores of fraudulent smog check inspections at a South Los Angeles facility.

Jermaine Elroy “Aria” Williams, 33, of Woodland Hills, pleaded guilty in February to a federal conspiracy count. He could have been sentenced to as much as five years behind bars.

Williams was among nine defendants charged two years ago in a 44-count indictment that focused on Smogz R Us, a shop that operated on West 54th Street in South Los Angeles.

The charges included conspiracy and various counts of making false statements in connection with more than 1,300 bogus smog checks conducted at the location.

According to the indictment, the defendants engaged in a form of fraudulent smog testing in which vehicle identification information was entered into smog testing equipment to make it appear that a particular vehicle was being tested—while a substitute “clean” vehicle was tested in order to obtain a passing grade.

Once the bogus tests were completed, the defendants submitted phony Certificates of Compliance to California’s Vehicle Information Database, falsely certifying that vehicles passed the emissions checks when they were never tested, prosecutors said.

Williams had previously been banned by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge from working in the smog or emissions industry, according to federal prosecutors.

Part of the federal Clean Air Act prohibits a person from knowingly making false statements and certifications in relation to the smog check program.