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1. PRINCIPAL DEFENDANT: Alexander Christian Edwards
W.D.  North Carolina  3:11-CR-102-MOC
2. DEFENDANT: Chuck Yee Cheung
W.D.  North Carolina  3:06CR55-005
3. DEFENDANT: Jin Sung Chang
W.D.  North Carolina  3:06CR55-005
4. DEFENDANT: Stephen Craig Dickinson
W.D.  North Carolina  3:11-CR-101-MOC
5. DEFENDANT: Thanh Long Quoc Nguyen
W.D.  North Carolina  3:06CR55-005

Press Release
July 14, 2011


The Defendants Used Device to Bypass Vehicle Emissions Inspections

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Five men have pled guilty to violating the Clean Air Act by using a device to bypass vehicle emissions inspections, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

U.S. Attorney Tompkins is joined in making the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Maureen O’Mara of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID) of the Atlanta Area Office, Alex Peter, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NC SBI), and Commissioner Mike Robertson of the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (NC DMV). The defendants, Stephen Craig Dickinson, 27, of Charlotte, Alexander Christian Edwards, 24, of Monroe, Jin Sung Chang, 24, of Concord, Thanh Long Quoc Nguyen, 32, of Charlotte, and Chuck Yee Cheung, 37, of Charlotte, were charged by separate criminal bills of information and have each pled guilty to one count of violating the Clean Air Act. Chang was also charged with, and pled guilty to, making three materially false statements in the course of the investigation.

According to court documents and related proceedings, at the time of their criminal conduct three of the defendants, Dickinson, Edwards and Chang, were employed by a car dealership in Charlotte. In or about 2010, these defendants purchased a device used to bypass the ordinary onboard diagnostics system used in state emissions inspections. The defendants used the device to provide false passing results for vehicles that had their “check engine” light on, indicating they were discharging emissions at a higher rate than permitted by law, an illegal activity known as “clean scanning.” In exchange for the false passing results, the defendants charged more than the standard fee for the emissions inspections. The other two defendants, Nguyen and Cheung were employed at a used car lot also in Charlotte, and communicated via text messages with one of the dealership employees asking him to “clean scan” vehicles for them. In addition, when investigators interviewed Chang on three separate occasions he provided false material statements.

Dickinson entered his guilty plea on April 15, 2011, Edwards on April 27, 2011, Cheung on June 7, 2011, Nguyen on July 6, 2011, and Chang on July 14, 2011. All of the defendants remain free on bond and their sentencing dates have not been set yet. The defendants face a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

“Vehicle inspections are required, in part, to ensure that our air quality is protected. Schemes such as the one perpetrated by the defendants put public health at risk,” stated U.S. Attorney Tompkins. “This office is committed to prosecuting those who violate the federal laws designed to protect the health of our citizens.”

“Complete and accurate vehicle emissions tests are necessary to protect the public from air pollutants that can cause serious respiratory illnesses,” stated Special Agent in Charge O’Mara. “Working in partnership with state and local officials, we are committed to enforcing the law to protect people’s health. Today’s court actions show that inspectors who knowingly falsify emissions documents, and those who conspire with them, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“North Carolina now has enhanced capabilities to identify illegal vehicle inspections. If an inspection station engages in a fraudulent emissions inspection, we will know it and we will prosecute such illegal activities appropriately,” said Commissioner Robertson.

The investigation of the case is being handled by the EPA-CID, NC SBI, and NC DMV License and Theft Bureau, with assistance from the North Carolina Division of Air Quality. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.

United States v. Dickinson; Case Number 3:11-cr-101-MOC;

United States v. Edwards; Case Number 3:11-cr-102-MOC;

United States v. Cheung; Case Number 3:11-cr-160-MOC; 3:11-mj-214;

United States v. Chang; Case Number 3:11-cr-163-MOC; 3:11-mj-202;

United States v. Nguyen; Case Number 3:11-cr-175-MOC.

April 14, 2011
Edwards and Dickinson were charged with one count each, of violating the CAA {42 U.S.C. 7413(c)(2)(A) - knowingly makes false statements}.

They pled guilty to the charge filed in the Information.

CITATION: 42 U.S.C. 7413(c)(2)(a)
May 17, 2011
Cheung was charged with one count of violating the CAA {42 U.S.C. 7413(c)(2)(A) - failure to file and maintain documents} and consipracy, a violation of 18 U.S.C. 371.

Cheung pled guilty to the charge.

CITATION: 18 U.S.C. 371
July 6, 2011
Nguyen pled guilty to 1 felony count of violating the CAA.

July 14, 2011
After being charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the CAA {18 U.S.C. 371} and 3 counts of making false statements {18 U.S.C. 1001}, Chang pled guilty to the 4 counts.

January 18, 2012
Cheung was sentenced to 8 months incarceration.

March 26, 2012
Edwards was sentenced to 6 months incarceration, 20 months probation and was ordered to pay a $1,000 federal fine.

March 30, 2012
Dickinson was sentenced to 24 months probation and ordered to pay a federal fine in the amount of $1,000.

October 19, 2012
Nguyen was sentenced to 24 months supervised release, including 60 days home detention, ordered to perform 50 hours of community service and pay a $2,000 federal fine.

  • Clean Air Act (CAA)
  • Title 18 U.S. Criminal Code (TITLE 18)

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