State Safety Inspector Pleads Guilty to Taking Bribes
Private vehicle inspection stations paid kickbacks
MD ( June 21, 2011) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced that former Maryland State Police civilian employee Dennis Michael Kennedy, 56, of Bel Air, entered a plea of guilty to three counts of Bribery of a Public Employee and was sentenced yesterday. Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill sentenced Kennedy to two (2) years of incarceration, all of which was suspended, and ordered him to complete two (2) years of supervised probation during which he must complete 100 hours of community service in the first 6 months. As part of the plea agreement Kennedy also paid $9,718 to the Maryland State Police for costs attributable to the investigation.
- “This case goes beyond the illegal acts of a public employee selling safety inspection certificates,” said Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. “Legitimate and thorough vehicle safety inspections help to keep Maryland families as safe as possible while we are on the road. ”
Since 2006, Dennis Michael Kennedy had been employed as a Vehicle Safety Inspector in the Maryland State Police’s Automotive Safety Enforcement Division (ASED). ASED is responsible for overseeing the State’s vehicle safety inspection program, and is the central repository and clearing house for Safety Equipment Repair Orders issued by all law enforcement agencies. Maryland law requires all used vehicles that are to be re-titled in this State must have a complete vehicle safety inspection conducted prior to registration. As a Vehicle Safety Inspector, Kennedy oversaw approximately 60 service stations throughout Baltimore City which were licensed to conduct those safety inspections and issue certifications. Amongst his job responsibilities, Kennedy was required to routinely test mechanics, ensure that stations were properly equipped to conduct vehicle inspections and make certain that all vehicle inspection certificates were issued appropriately.
In July of 2010, ASED personnel received a tip that Kennedy was accepting cash kickbacks from owners of various service stations he oversaw. In exchange for the kickbacks, he would ignore or minimize service station shortcomings relating to their vehicle inspection practices. Following an extensive investigation, three additional witnesses admitted to paying Kennedy for favorable treatment as well as inspection certificates which they sold without conducting safety inspections. An audit of all inspection stations under Kennedy’s watch revealed that 70% were non-compliant. Kennedy was interviewed and admitted to accepting cash payments from the station owners.
The conviction follows a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Criminal Division, and the Maryland State Police. In making today’s announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked the Maryland State Police for their aggressive and exhaustive investigation of the matter, and also thanked Assistant Attorney General Megan Davey Limarzi for her work on the case.