The founder of a Ford Power Stroke tuning company, Spartan Diesel Technologies, has been imprisoned for selling thousands of emissions-defeat devices, which the Environmental Protection Agency found violated the Clean Air Act. Additionally, he was evading taxes which isn’t exactly a good combination, and 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.
The Dangers Of Improper Tuning
Geouge was the proprietor of Spartan Diesel Technologies, which sold tunes for diesel Ford trucks. At one point, 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. However, the tunes could generate large amounts of soot from unburned fuel when paired with larger injectors, resulting in a 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. Geourge’s activities attracted the attention of both the EPA and the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS 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 the business.
In 2021, Geouge pleaded guilty to the charges and, in addition to his time in prison, 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. Additionally, three others who conspired with Geouge were issued equal sentences of home confinement and probation, as well as community service and fines.