NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In a growing danger for drivers, cars that cannot pass inspection remain on the road with stickers that are either fake, or obtained through fraud.

As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, it meant a felony charge for one local driver.

A total of 12 million vehicles are registered in New York state, and a shocking number have inspection stickers that are either fake or acquired through fraud.

Last summer, police in Babylon, Long Island found 93 counterfeit stickers on cars in the Long Island Rail Road parking lot.

The offense usually means a ticket for a driver, but on Tuesday night, New York State Police stopped Angel Calvo of Putnam County for speeding – and charged him with a felony for having a fake inspection sticker.

“Someone being prosecuted with a felony for having a fake sticker, I think, is a very strong deterrent,” said AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair.

Sinclair said cars that cannot pass inspection often have safety issues such as bad brakes.

“These are basic safety pieces of equipment that you need for your vehicles so that you can traverse the road safely, and not cause a danger to yourself or others,” Sinclair said.

But many drivers do not want to pay for repairs so their cars will pass, and they give in to temptation.

CBS2 found ads on the Internet offering inspection stickers for $80, no questions asked.

In October, a Bronx man was busted smuggling 1,000 fake stickers to John F. Kennedy International Airport from overseas.

Drivers also try to bribe workers at inspection stations.

“People do come here — they offer me $200, $150,” said Kevin Singh of Punjab Auto.

The stickers are so valuable the owner keeps them under lock and key.

Law enforcement has a number of tools to spot fake inspection stickers – starting with eyesight. The color on the fake stickers tends to fade after a few weeks on the windshield.

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