Oklahoma City Business Owner Sentenced After Pleading Guilty to … – Department of Justice

OKLAHOMA CITY – Yesterday, JAMES “DOC” LOVE, 53, of Norman, Oklahoma, was sentenced for Tampering with a Monitoring Device and Method Required to be Maintained Under the Clean Air Act, announced United States Attorney Robert J. Troester.

On September 20, 2021, Love was charged by a one-count Information with violating the Clean Air Act.  The Clean Air Act was enacted by Congress to protect and enhance the quality of the Nation’s air resources to promote the public health and welfare and the productive capacity of its population.   On October 7, 2021, Love pleaded guilty to the Information and sentenced on January 23, 2023, to probation for twelve months by U.S. District Judge Scott L. Palk.  Love was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.

According to public record, Love owned and operated Southwest Diesel Service, a heavy-duty diesel engine full-service garage that was located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Love admitted that between February 2015 and April 2019, he directed his employees to modify the emissions control systems on heavy-duty diesel trucks.  Specifically, Love directed these employees to alter the emissions control components, including removing the diesel particulate filters (DPFs) and plating the exhaust gas recirculation systems (EGRs).   He then instructed others to reprogram the vehicles’ on-board computers so that the emissions control systems’ sensors failed to detect the alterations.  These modifications prevented the trucks from accurately recording the pollutants they discharged into the atmosphere. They also ensured that the trucks continued to travel on public roads despite operating illegally.

“Emissions controls protect all of us from harmful effects of air pollution.  However, Mr. Love put the health of the public at risk by manipulating devices intended to disable those emissions controls for financial gain,” said U.S. Attorney Troester.  “We hope this case sends a clear message to others that this type of conduct has serious consequences.”

“The defendant put profits before public health by directing employees to bypass and disable the emission control equipment on heavy-duty diesel engines,” said Special Agent in Charge Kim Bahney.  “This sentencing demonstrates that EPA and our law enforcement partners will hold accountable those who violate laws designed to protect our communities from harmful air pollution.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Brown.  The investigation was conducted by the Oklahoma Environmental Crimes Task Force to include the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality’s Criminal Investigation Unit.

Reference is made to court filings for further information.