VW Executive Gets 7 Years In Prison In Emissions Cheating Scandal

VW Executive Gets 7 Years In Prison In Emissions Cheating Scandal

A senior Volkswagen executive was sentenced to seven years in a prison by a U.S. court on Wednesday after being found guilty of concealing software used to evade pollution limits on almost 600,000 diesel vehicles.

Lawyers spent roughly 90 minutes giving different views about Schmidt's culpability in the scandal in Detroit federal court on Wednesday.

Schmidt, a German citizen who lived in Detroit as an emissions compliance executive for VW, was arrested in Miami on vacation last January.

The prison sentence and $400,000 USA fine for Schmidt were the maximum possible under a plea deal in August the German national made with prosecutors after admitting to charges of conspiring to mislead U.S regulators and violate clean-air laws.

He had pleaded guilty in August to charges he conspired to commit fraud and violate the US Clean Air Act.

Schmidt will be deported after he serves his sentence.

Schmidt, 48, the second and most senior employee to plead guilty in the affair, is among seven current and former VW executives that United States prosecutors have charged so far.


In August, the same court sentenced James Liang, a Volkswagen engineer who had cooperated with investigating authorities, to 40 months and a $200,000 fine for his role in the affair.

VW used sophisticated software to cheat emissions rules on almost 600,000 USA vehicles. The plan was hatched in 2006, and the vehicles were marketed as "clean diesel".

The scandal has so far reportedly cost the auto giant as much as $30 billion in fines, settlements and remediation.

Although the initial stages of the scheme to goose emissions numbers started as early as 2004 at Audi, Schmidt and his lawyers assert that the executive only found out about the software in the summer of 2015, a few months before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made public VW Group's violation. Schmidt's plea deal stated that the former executive could face up to seven years in prison and between $40,000 and $400,000 in fines.

"The defendant has a leadership role within VW", federal officials said.

Prosecutors say Schmidt concealed the software tricks to California regulators while offering "bogus" explanations of any differences in emissions.

In March, Volkswagen AG pleaded guilty to three felonies and agreed to pay a $2.8 billion criminal fine.

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