Auto shop manager charged in inspection scam

Auto shop manager charged in inspection scam
Photo by Yinghao Luo
By Rich Bockmann

A St. Albans auto shop manager was charged last week after an investigation by the state Department of Motor Vehicles determined he was allegedly using “dummy” cars in order to give valid inspection stickers to approximately 30 vehicles that had never actually been inspected, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

According to the criminal charges, Easton McEwan was licensed to inspect vehicles at the Eastmac Auto Specialist shop he managed on the corner of Merrick Boulevard and 116th Avenue, the DA said.

Instead of inspecting the vehicles, the investigation claimed, between November and February McEwan would scan their vehicle identification numbers into an inspection machine while the machine was hooked up to one of the “dummy” cars. The DMV said it got tipped off when the VINs were not matching up.

“The defendant was licensed and therefore entrusted to conduct proper and valid vehicle inspections — instead, he is accused of taking shortcuts and possibly endangering motorists, as well as the environment, by validating potentially dangerous vehicles,” Brown said. “His actions, if true, are unacceptable and must be punished.”

State DMV Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala said, “The Department of Motor Vehicles is committed to protecting the public from potential dangers on our highways. Those who would issue valid inspection stickers for vehicles that should be taken off the road must be held accountable for the potential harm that could result as a consequence of their actions. I congratulate all those involved in this investigation and arrest, including the DMV’s Vehicle Safety and Division of Field Investigation staff.”

The 46-year-old McEwan, of 117-23 168th St., was charged with 30 counts each of computer tampering, offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records and issuing an inspection sticker without a proper certification, as well as one count of illegal possession of a vehicle ID number, Brown said.

If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison, Brown said.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4574.m

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