Smog Check Tech Charged with Fraud

Shop owner allegedly caught on video manufacturing bogus certificates arraigned today.

An auto shop owner today pleaded not guilty to 21 felony counts of falsifying records for allegedly contriving bogus smog check certifications.

Cahit Bingol stands accused of manufacturing clean bills of health for errant vehicles at his shop in South San Francisco between Sept. 22 and Oct. 21 of 2010, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

State law requires owners of most motor vehicles in certain parts of the state to pass a Smog Check inspection every two years and every time vehicle title is transferred.

Until recently, Bingol's Smog Zone Test Only Center 1086 Grand Ave. stood in good stead with the California Bureau of Automotive Repair, which oversees licensing for smog check technicians.

Automated data collected by the bureau alerted officials to possible fraud, and video surveillance of the shop during the four-day period showed Bingol generating seven phony certificates by utilizing the “clean pipe” and “clean plug” methods.  Both methods can generate certificates for a vehicle by utilizing emission data from other vehicles or sources.

The district attorney has filed three felony charges for each of the seven bogus certifications. All three are punishable by county imprisonment for 16 months, or two or three years. 

Bingol surrendered his Smog Check Program licenses. 

A preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 6.

Jay Bud December 17, 2011 at 01:28 AM
I guess that's the reason the gas station was torn down earlier this year
Bren December 18, 2011 at 09:48 PM
California's smog check program is arbitrary and unfair, as it outlaws numerous performance modifications which demonstrably cause ZERO increase in emissions. A car that's been modified and puts out less emissions at the tailpipe will still fail the test, simply because it's been modified. As long as California's smog check program continues to be brainless and unfair, car enthusiasts will continue to seek out smog check techs like the guy in this article, and they will cherish these guys when they're able to find them.
William September 15, 2012 at 12:26 AM
I just did a search to see where my regular smog guy went and this is what i found. Didn't know about this. I kinda feel sory for the guy cause i knew him, but the law is the law. The thing is there is no benefit to cheating the system for him or anyone. There is plenty of money to be made doing it legit. It doesnt pay to bribe because it would cost less to just put the car right so it passes legally. Let's say he was doing 15 smogs per day at $50 or $70 for pre 96. 6 days a week makes that $18000 plus per month minus $1500 rent minus loan payment on $10k worth of equipment. No bad. Why jeapordize that?
William September 15, 2012 at 12:33 AM
The thing is too that they all do it for those they trust. I think this guy was doing a lot of car dealer work and was likely just expected to pass them to keep the contract for every car sold. Many used cars from the lots are unsmoggable but get pushed through anyhow in ways like this and that is where it really hurts people who unknowingly buy the car.
Charlie Peters September 15, 2012 at 03:23 AM
William, this type of reporting has been in the "news" for many decades. This Governor was in charge for 8 years with Mary Nichols the CARB chair with her chief advisory Tom Austin And John Wallauch was working at BAR as a manager. Every Smog Check evaluation in every state for several decades has shown large improvements possible. Hear we are over 3 decades later and the game just continues. A BAR employee showed how to fix this condition decades ago that has been shared with Mary Nichols and John Wallauch but it will take our Governor Jerry Brown to generate the change. John Wallauch/BAR Chief/916-403-8470 Mary Nichols/CARB Chair/(916) 322-5840 Governor Jerry Brown c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173 Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: (916) 445-2841 Fax: (916) 558-3160


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