Emissions Inspection Scam results in Guilty Pleas

| August 11, 2015

Olen

ATLANTA — Nathaniel Johnson and Daniel Lawson are headed to prison, Johnson for the second time, on charges of computer forgery in selling fraudulent emissions test results.

Johnson was convicted in February 2014 for his role in selling fraudulent motor vehicle emissions test results to motorists whose vehicles would not otherwise pass an emissions check. Cobb County Superior Court Judge A. Gregory Poole sentenced Johnson in 2014 to two years’ imprisonment, followed by eight years of probation. Johnson was paroled from prison in February of 2015.

Within a week Johnson was back in the emissions fraud business, and in May 2015 investigators with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, obtained a warrant on Johnson for making false statements in Cobb County. Johnson had provided information and documentation which led to the issuance of fraudulent waivers from motor vehicle emissions testing for vehicles. The waiver applications falsely stated that the vehicles were located out-of-state due to temporary employment of their owners, and contained forged signatures in support of these contentions.

On August 3, 2015, Johnson entered a guilty plea in Cobb County Superior Court to three counts of making false statements. He also admitted to violating the terms of his probation by committing these offenses and by committing the offense of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in Fulton County. Judge Poole sentenced Johnson to five years in prison, after which he will be required to fulfill the remaining portion of his probation. Johnson remains under a pending indictment in Fulton County for firearm and drug charges.

On Friday afternoon, August 7, Daniel Lawson entered a guilty plea to new charges of making a false statement and was sentenced by Judge Poole to one year in prison. Lawson had been on probation since February 2014 after his conviction for making false statements in connection with his role in the racketeering case with Johnson. Lawson also admitted to violating his probation by committing the offense of driving under the influence and to violating a special condition of his probation that prohibited him from working at a vehicle emission testing station. For these violations one year of Lawson’s probation was revoked and ordered to be served concurrently with his year’s sentence for the new false statements charge.

Assistant Attorney General Greg Lohmeier prosecuted the case on behalf of the State of Georgia. The case was investigated by Todd Binnion and Michael Derrick of the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Office of the Attorney General of Georgia

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