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Ten indicted in vehicle pollution scheme
By U.S. Department of Justice
May 16, 2024
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Nine men and a company have been charged with conspiring to install so-called “defeat devices” on diesel trucks, thereby allowing the vehicles to emit far more pollutants than allowed by law, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.


Phillip Dwain Waddell, Philip Matthew Ormand, Kolby Douglas Huneycutt, Kyle Kris Kizer, Jonathan Joseph Lohrmeyer, Justin Loutoyama Pasamonte, Archie George Sims, and Adam Marsh Stanley, along with auto dealership James Hodge Motors, Inc. (doing business as Jay Hodge Dodge) and its Chief Operating Officer, Curtis Kevin Poore, were indicted on conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act. They made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judges Hal R. Ray, Jr., Rebecca Rutherford, and Renée H. Toliver.


“These defendants intentionally flouted laws designed to ensure our children – and our children’s children – have clean air to breathe. By installing devices that bypassed automakers’ built in emissions controls, they spewed pollutants into our neighborhoods. The Justice Department, along with our partners at the Environmental Protection Agency, take violations of the Clean Air Act very seriously.”


"Pollutants emitted from tampered vehicles can have significant harm to public health,” said Kim Bahney, Special Agent in Charge for the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division. "This scheme occurred over several years and spanned across multiple states, diminishing air quality."


According to the indictment, Mr. Waddell allegedly sold aftermarket diesel exhaust components, tuners, and so-called “delete tunes” that allowed vehicles to spew excess pollutants into the air by overriding on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems required by the Clean Air Act.


Operating normally, OBDs monitor vehicle emissions to ensure they fall below the limits set by the Clean Air Act. When an OBD detects excess emissions, it sends input to the vehicle’s on-board computer, which may activate an indicator light and place the vehicle in “limp mode,” capping its speed at as low as five miles per hour.


With delete tunes installed, diesel exhaust systems can be modified so that OBDs cannot detect emission changes; thus, the vehicle cannot activate indicator lights, record diagnostic trouble codes, or place a vehicle into limp mode.


Mr. Waddell allegedly purchased the delete tunes from Mr. Ormand, who allegedly customized each tune for a specific vehicle. From Aug. 2018 to April 2021, Mr. Waddell allegedly paid Mr. Ormand more than $2 million for delete tunes, and allegedly sold the tunes for between $300 and $1,350.  Mr. Waddell’s customers included James Hodge Motors and several individuals who operated their own diesel repair and customization businesses.


Mr. Huneycutt, Mr. Kizer, Mr. Lohrmeyer, Mr. Pasamonte, Mr. Sims, and Mr. Stanley allegedly purchased tuners and delete tunes from Mr. Waddell and installed them on their customer’s vehicles in a process called “tuning” or “reflashing.”  James Hodge Motors, acting with the knowledge and under the supervision of Mr. Poore, also engaged in such behavior, and on at least one occasion, falsified invoices to conceal the nature of such work it performed on a customer’s truck.


An indictment is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


If convicted, each defendant faces up to five years in federal prison; the company faces up to $500,000 in fines.


The Environmental Protection Agency – Criminal Investigation Division’s Southwest Area Branch (Region 6) conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Brasher is prosecuting the case.