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California slaps trucking company with $2.38 million settlement after accusations of faking emissions compliance

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A trucking company has been ordered to pay millions of dollars for allegedly obtaining state funds by falsifying compliance with California emission standards.

On August 4, California Attorney General Rob Bonta and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced that Complete Logistics Company, LLC (CLC) is to pay a $2.38 million settlement after the carrier falsely claimed compliance with California emissions regulations in order to obtain $2.2 million in state grants to purchase newer, cleaner trucks.

Ninety percent of the settlement will go to CARB while the remaining 10% will go to the California Department of Justice.

CLC is accused of misusing California’s Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program, which provides trucking companies with grants in order to incentivize them to meet state emissions standards.

Authorities say that CLC made false certifications of emission compliance and then took remedial steps to become compliant once the owner discovered the falsification.

The owner of CLC reportedly learned of the false certification in 2017 after leaving the company for a time for health reasons. Upon returning to the company and learning of the issue, the owner allegedly fired the responsible employees and became CARB compliant by 2019 and “and is now a model trucking operator with respect to emissions compliance.” 

While CLC is accused of improperly obtaining funds, authorities noted that the money was actually used to purchase cleaner trucks for the company’s fleet.

“CARB utilizes its audit and investigation tools to ferret out companies receiving incentive funds based on falsely-reported compliance with CARB regulations. As this case illustrates, the consequences of such cheating are serious,” said CARB Executive Officer Richard W. Corey. “It’s vital that other companies take note of the high settlement amount and remember that they risk their reputation and their business if they falsify information to obtain precious incentive funding.”

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