RALEIGH - The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles' License and Theft Bureau on Thursday, June 14, suspended two Greenville Jiffy Lube stations from performing vehicle inspections and arrested four vehicle inspectors, charging them with performing illegal inspections for extra fees. Bureau investigators were assisted in the investigation by members of the Environmental Crimes Taskforce, a joint investigatory effort that includes the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation's Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit.
The Jiffy Lube stations are located at 126 SE Greenville Blvd. and 645 S. Memorial Drive. The Greenville Boulevard Jiffy Lube station was suspended from performing inspections for 10 years and fined $5,250. The Memorial Drive Jiffy Lube station was suspended for three years and fined $1,500. The stations may request an administrative hearing on the suspensions.
The vehicle inspectors, all from Greenville, are being held in the Pitt County jail. They were charged with a total 44 felony counts of issuing an electronic inspection authorization for a vehicle that did not pass inspection and was not issued a waiver. They include Linville Stephan Almond, 40, who was charged with 20 counts and is being held on a $30,000 secured bond; Donnie Ray Wilson, 55, who was charged with 17 counts and is being held on a $25,000 secured bond; Marcus Andrew Tyson, 31, who was charged with five counts and is being held on a $10,000 secured bond; and Joshua Allen Sweezy, 24, who was charged with two counts and is being held on a $5,000 secured bond.
The actions are the result of an investigation begun in early May. Working with the N.C. Division of Air Quality's monthly vehicle inspections reports and analysis, DMV License and Theft Bureau investigators documented activities at the two stations, where Almond, Tyson and Sweezy passed vehicles on inspections that would not have passed on their own. These "clean scans" were performed for as much as $200 extra, well above the usual $30 vehicle inspection fee.
According to investigators, Wilson, who owns Donnie's Automotive Care in Greenville, is charged with collecting money from vehicle owners whose vehicles would not pass inspection on their own, then taking the vehicles or the vehicle information to one of the Jiffy Lube stations to receive a passing inspection. Both Almond and Tyson are Jiffy Lube managers and inspectors. Sweezy is a former Jiffy Lube employee and inspector.
Officers from the Greenville Police Department and the Pitt County Sheriff's Office also assisted with arrests in the case. The investigation is ongoing.