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Only On ABC-7: Former vehicle inspector said new state law won’t deter fraud

Texas officials say the new law changing how vehicle inspection stickers are issued will deter fraud.

But ABC-7 spoke to one man who claims it won’t change a thing.

The man, who didn’t want to be identified, worked as a vehicle inspector for a local garage ten years ago.

And he knows all about how to issue stickers — even to those who don’t qualify.

“What we’d do is get the information on your vehicle: the year, make and model, mileage, engine size — everything the system requires,” the man explained. “We (hook up) a vehicle that matches yours onto the system, but we enter your information into it.”

The former inspector said he and the shop would make money on the side — with the shop raking in anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 a week — selling stickers to drivers with cars that failed the inspection.

He recalled performing the process on up to 10 cars weekly.

“(Vehicle owners) are not going to spend the hundreds of dollars on getting a new catalytic converter or new sensors instead of paying double the fee of the inspection,” he said about why people would pay for a fraudulent inspection.

Beginning in March, Texas implemented “Two Steps, One Sticker” — a law that now requires drivers to present proof of a completed inspection while applying for an updated vehicle registration.

State officials say it will not only eliminate the need for two stickers on vehicle windshields, but it will also deter inspection fraud.

The latter claim is doubtful, said the former inspector.

“Nothing has changed in the process of getting it done,” he said.

When ABC-7 emailed the El Paso spokesman for the Department of Public Safety for a response to this story, trooper Angel Martinez only replied that the DPS, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will closely monitor for this type of fraud.

Martinez also said most fraud involved the conterfeiting of the actual sticker, though he didn’t have any statistics on fraudulent cases.

Meantime — the former inspector remains dubious anything will really change under the new law.

“It starts with the shops. (The state) needs to be on top of them more than they are to stop this.”

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