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Dealership owner sentenced for disabling emissions controls on 244 diesel vehicles

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A New York man was sentenced after he admitted to violating the Clean Air Act by disabling emissions controls on hundreds of diesel vehicles.

On April 19, 2024, Matthew R. Talamo, 38, was sentenced to four years of probation and a $50,000 fine.

Talamo previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act.

Talamo is the owner/operator of  Southern Diesel Truck Co. and Southern Diesel and Off-Road LLC (collectively “Southern Diesel”), in Oswego, New York. The companies specialize in buying, reselling, and performing after-market modifications to diesel vehicles.

Officials say that between January 2018 and November 2022, Southern Diesel tampered with the emission control monitoring devices and systems of approximately 244 diesel vehicles.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York, Talamo admitted to tampering with emission control monitoring devices and methods on diesel pickup trucks, including both software and hardware modifications. The software modifications, called “tunes” or “deletes,” involved Talamo tampering with “on board diagnostic” (OBD) system and disabling emission controls. The hardware modifications Talamo admitted to include removing tailpipes, mufflers, and other exhaust components and replacing them with so-called straight pipes that lacked diesel particulate filters and other systems designed to reduce emissions.

“Despite the harm to the environment, diesel vehicle owners sometimes seek such illegal modifications to avoid the costs of maintaining and repairing emission control components and to increase speed and fuel efficiency,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Investigating agencies include Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

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