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Washington company owner admits to deleting pollution control devices on hundreds of diesel trucks

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This week, the co-owner of a pair of repair and sales companies admitted to deleting pollution control devices on hundreds of diesel trucks.

On March 18, 2024, Sean Coiteux, 50, pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington.

Coiteux and his wife, Tracy Coiteux, 46, co-own Washington-based diesel service and sales companies Racing Performance Maintenance Northwest and RPM Motors and Sales NW.

As part of a plea agreement, Coiteux said that between January 2018 and January 2021, he ordered workers to delete pollution control devices on approximately 375 diesel trucks that the company sold or serviced for $538,477 in fees.

“RPM Motors and Sales sometimes offered, as part of the sale of a truck, to remove the emissions control system after the customer purchased a truck.  Email and other electronic records document the conspirators’ purchase of equipment and software kits to remove the pollution control and reprogram the monitoring systems.  These modifications, which are known as “tunes” and “deletes,” are marketed to truck owners as improving vehicle power and performance,” officials said.

Racing Performance Northwest also pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act. RPM Motors and Sales pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act.

“By removing required pollution control devices, the defendants caused their customers’ diesel trucks to spew pollutants into the air at a rate of up to 1,200 times the pollution caused by compliant trucks,” said U.S. Attorney Gorman.  “This conduct increased toxins in our environment that are linked to cancer, as well as pulmonary, neurological, cardiovascular, and immune system damage. The pollution causes particular harm to disadvantaged communities who live near freeways and other high traffic areas.”

Tracy Coiteux has also been charged and is awaiting trial.

In relation to this case, 44 year old service manager Nick Akerill pleaded guilty in September 2022 to a Motor Vehicle Emission Control Systems Violation. Akerill was ordered to serve on a work crew for 30 days.

Sentencing is scheduled for Coiteux and both companies on June 24, 2024.

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