Knowing the conduct was illegal, the defendants would often warn customers by e-mail not to tell anyone and to take steps to avoid detection
Miami—Defendants Vivian Machado, 62, Eric Flaquer, 39, as well as Miami-based companies Quick Tricks Automotive Performance, Inc., and Kloud9Nine, LLC have pled guilty in federal district court to conspiring to tamper with monitoring devices on diesel vehicles, in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA).
It is a felony to tamper with CAA-required monitoring devices, such as required automaker-manufactured and -installed emissions control systems for emissions-related engine systems and components, monitored by a vehicle’s on-board diagnostic system (OBD).
According to court records and a Joint Factual Statement filed in court, between January 2018 and December 2020, defendants Machado, Flaquer, and Quick Tricks (shop motto, “Home of the Looney Tune”) were paid approximately $230,830.61 for 1,100 transactions for the sale of “delete tune files” that tamper with or disable the OBDs on heavy-duty diesel motor vehicles that were required under the CAA to have OBD systems to monitor the emissions control systems.
Similarly, between October 2019 and March 2021, Machado, Flaquer, and Kloud9Nine were paid $141,162.70 for an additional 657 transactions. The defendants would customize the delete tune files based on the vehicle identification number and desired parameters and would conduct active customer service for the automotive businesses. Knowing the conduct was illegal, the defendants would often warn customers by e-mail not to tell anyone about the purchases and to take steps to avoid detection by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and “stay under the radar.”
U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams has set a sentencing hearing for all four defendants for April 7 in federal district court in Miami. Machado and Flaquer face up to five years in prison and a criminal fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense. The companies face a term of probation up to five years and a criminal fine of up to $500,000 or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense.