Joseph DeMatteo

DeMatteo Sentenced for Emissions Testing Scam

The former fugitive received five months of home detention, three years of probation, and was ordered to pay $100.

Joseph DeMatteo of Clark County, Nev., has been sentenced to serve five months home detention, followed by a term of three years probation, for criminally violating the Clean Air Act. He was also ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the court.

DeMatteo, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fugitive, was one of 10 Nevada-certified emissions testers indicted on Jan. 6, 2010 by a federal grand jury on one felony count for falsifying vehicle emissions test reports in Las Vegas between Nov. 2007 and May 2009. It is a crime to knowingly alter or conceal any record or other document required to be maintained by the Clean Air Act (CAA).

Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said: “Abusing emissions testing responsibilities puts communities’ air quality at risk. With information provided through the EPA fugitive’s list, we were able to work with the public and other law enforcement agencies to capture and complete the sentencing of a defendant who attempted to circumvent the law.”

Although the other nine defendants were promptly located and charged, DeMatteo failed to surrender. He was arrested in Las Vegas on Jun. 8, 2010 by special agents after EPA received a tip on his whereabouts. On Oct. 14, 2010, DeMatteo pleaded guilty to making a material false statement in violation of CAA.

The other defendants indicted are Eduardo Franco, Alexander Worster, Wadji Waked, Adolfo Contreras, David Nelson, William McCown, Gary Smith, Peter Escudero, and Louis Demeo. DeMatteo will be the sixth defendant sentenced.

The defendants engaged in a practice known as “clean scanning” vehicles. The identification number of a vehicle that cannot pass the emissions test — or is not even present for testing — is entered into the computer system, but a different car that can pass the emissions test is actually tested. The data is then recorded on the vehicle inspection report so that the initial car fraudulently "passed" the test. The cost of getting the fraudulent report was anywhere from $10 to $100 more than the usual emissions testing fee.
Las Vegas must perform emissions testing because currently it violates ozone and carbon monoxide standards.

Source: U.S. EPA