Used ‘Dummies’ To Fool Customers
The manager of a Jamaica auto shop has been charged with using “dummy” vehicles to illegally issue state-mandated inspection stickers for approximately 30 vehicles which, in fact, had never been inspected.
He was identified by Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown as Easton R. McEwan, 46, of 168th Street in Jamaica. McEwan was arraigned last Wednesday night, July 11, in Queens Criminal Court in Kew Gardens on a criminal complaint charging him with 30 counts of thirddegree computer tampering, illegal possession of a vehicle ID number, 30 counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, 30 counts of second-degree falsifying business records, and 30 counts of issuing an inspection sticker without a proper inspection.
The defendant was released without bail and ordered to return to court on July 25. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.
“[McEwan] 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.”
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala added, “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.”
According to the charges, between Nov. 29, 2011 and Feb. 6 inside of Eastmac Auto Specialist, located at 116-03 Merrick Blvd. in Jamaica, McEwan-who is the manager of the shop-allegedly used “dummy” vehicles to illegally issue inspection stickers which were then placed on vehicles which were never, in fact, inspected.
Investigators found that he was licensed by the DMV to perform safety and emissions inspections as required by New York State law. In order to conduct the inspections, the inspector [McEwan, in this case] punches a vehicle identification number (VIN) into an inspection machine while at the same time the computer on the inspection machine draws the VIN from the vehicle to which it is attached.
The investigation began when DMV computers showed that the VINs were mismatched, i.e., that the vehicle plugged into the inspection machine in fact had a different VIN than that which was punched in by the inspector.
The investigation was conducted by DMV Supervising Investigator Gerald Harrison under the supervision of Chief Investigator Timothy Hotaling and by Detectives Martin Maloney and Michael Simeone of the NYPD’s Auto Crime Unit, under the supervision of Sgt. Joseph Ricotta, Lt. Christopher Gately, and Capt. Michael Vanchieri, and the overall supervision of Deputy Inspector Joseph Kenney.
Assistant District Attorney Antara D. Kanth of the District Attorney’s Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Mary M. Lowenburg, chief of the Auto Crime and Insurance Fraud Unit, and Assistant District Attorneys Gerard A. Brave, bureau chief, and Mark L. Katz, deputy bureau chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Peter A. Crusco and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Linda M. Cantoni.
It was noted that a criminal complaint is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.