After a coordinated investigation conducted by multiple New Jersey state agencies, three men are facing charges for conspiracy, falsifying or tampering with records, and computer-related crimes in connection with their activities at a Paterson automobile inspection enterprise.
According to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, 28-year-old Paterson resident Christopher Alcantara, 51-year-old Clifton resident Mariano Alcantara, and 21-year-old Paterson resident Lewis Alcantara-Sosa were allegedly charging customers in exchange for the passage of vehicles that would otherwise have failed inspections. The accused are all family members who worked at Five Stars Auto Inspection, located at 34 1st Avenue in Paterson, a business owned by Christopher Alcantara.
The investigation, conducted by officials from the Division of Criminal Justice, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, reportedly revealed that the defendants were utilizing data simulators to tamper with emissions tests in order to allow vehicles to pass inspections, collecting fees of up to $150 for this illegal service.
Detectives from the Division of Criminal Justice arrested Christopher and Mariano Alcantara on Wednesday, January 15th. While Lewis Alcantara was charged via summons, processed, and then released, Christopher and Mariano are currently being held at the Bergen County Jail, with their bails set at $50,000 each.
The charges against these three carry significant penalties, particularly those for conspiracy and computer-related crimes, which have both been classified as second-degree offenses. In New Jersey, crimes of the second degree are punishable by a term of imprisonment ranging from 5 to 10 years in state prison. In addition, the accused could be subject to fines of up to $150,000 if convicted of the conspiracy charges.
Further, falsifying or tampering with records, codified under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4, is typically considered a crime of the fourth degree, unless it involves issuing a false financial statement. However, in this case, the defendants have been charged with third degree offenses, which are punishable by sentences ranging from 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison.
If you have been charged with one of the above offenses, be sure to contact Paterson NJ criminal defense attorney Alissa D. Hascup for a free consultation about your case.
For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: 3 men at Paterson auto inspection business charged with rigging emissions tests