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Diesel Ford Truck Tuner Gets Prison for Selling Defeat Devices, Dodging Taxes

Turns out messing with the IRS and EPA at the same time is a bad idea.
A Ford pickup with a Spartan tune emits a cloud of soot
YouTube | Scott Thomason

The founder of Spartan Diesel Technologies, a Ford Power Stroke tuning company, has been imprisoned for selling thousands of emissions-defeat devices, which the Environmental Protection Agency found violated the Clean Air Act.

The Department of Justice declared Thursday that it had sentenced 35-year-old Matthew Sidney Geouge of Hendersonville, North Carolina to one year and one day in prison for conspiracy to violate the CAA and tax evasion. Geouge was the proprietor of Spartan Diesel Technologies, which an EPA document states sold tunes for diesel Ford trucks. At one time, Spartan claimed its tunes provided the quickest quarter-mile times for 6.4-liter Power Strokes according to a retailer of Spartan’s “Phalanx” tuning devices. As seen in the video below, the tunes could generate large amounts of soot from unburned fuel when paired with larger injectors, resulting in an often intentional side effect known as rolling coal.

Geouge used company proceeds from selling over 14,000 Phalanx tuners to purchase land, build a home, and buy guns and ammo according to court documents seen by Market Watch. Geouge’s activities attracted the attention of both the EPA and Internal Revenue Service, the former of which issued a violation notice to Geouge in 2015, to which he reportedly did not respond. This was followed up in 2017 with a fine of $4.15 million, leading to Geouge allegedly selling Spartan to Patriot Diagnostics, though the EPA accused Geouge of simply rebranding his business.

In 2021, Geouge pleaded guilty to the charges outlined above, and in addition to his prison time was sentenced to six months of home confinement, three years of supervised release, $1.3 million in penalties to the EPA, and another $1.2 million to the IRS. Three of Geouge’s co-conspirators were issued equal penalties of home confinement and probation, as well as varying amounts of community service and fines.

Geouge is far from the first diesel truck tuner to face repercussions for selling defeat devices. In 2021, EZ Lynk was sued by the U.S. government after it allegedly failed to cooperate with a federal investigation regarding its tuners. Other performance outlets have since switched to solutions that are compliant with emissions regulations and don’t require a truck’s diesel particulate filter to be removed. That’s one of many components meant to prohibit excessive pollutants from escaping through a pickup’s exhaust pipe, and often the first part removed by anyone looking to make more power.

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