(CN) – A California man who imported Chinese-made recreational vehicles into the United States lied to get certificates of compliance from the Environmental Protection Agency, the government claims in a federal complaint.
Chia Zheng certified to the EPA that the engines in at least 12 Chinese vehicles that his clients wished to import met EPA emissions and fuel-efficiency standards and that his company MotorScience Enterprises had the data on file to prove it, according to the complaint filed in Los Angeles.
After conducting site visits to Zheng’s offices in City of Industry, Calif., and interviews with MotorScience employees, however, EPA investigators determined that the records did not exist and that some of the information in the application for the certificates of compliance was false.
To get a compliance certificate for a family of engines, manufacturers or a designated agent use a test vehicle – known as an emissions data vehicle – that serves as a representative of the class of vehicles the particular engine willpower.
The procedures used to test the data vehicle for compliance with U.S. emissions standards must be documented and retained along with any alterations made to the vehicle during testing, and the results of the tests.
Zheng failed to meet any of these requirements and lied when he certified that the imported vehicles were of the same class as the emissions data vehicle.
Four companies – Henim, USA, Inc., Longting USA, LLC, Peace Industry Group (USA), Inc. and Seaseng, Inc. – hired Zheng as their authorized agent to perform the necessary tests, compile the data and submit applications to the EPA.
The Department of Justice says Zheng did not provide copies of the compliance certification application to his clients, nor did he provide them with copies of the required records or data. The four are not listed as parties to the suit.
The government is asking for a permanent injunction banning further importation of vehicles based on Zheng’s allegedly invalid certificates of compliance into the United States and damages of $32,500 per day, per violation proven at trial.