VW Exec Gets 7 Years In Jail For Role In Emissions Scandal

Marco Green
December 7, 2017

A judge on Wednesday sentenced a Volkswagen senior manager to seven years in prison for covering up a scheme to evade pollution limits on USA diesel vehicles, calling it an astonishing fraud on American consumers.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy and violating the Clean Air Act in August.

The executive led VW's engineering and environmental office in MI from 2012 to early 2015.

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Schmidt plead guilty in a Detroit Federal Court after prosecutors found he had offered "bogus" explanations to Californian regulators as to why VW vehicles met emissions standards during testing, but far exceeded them on the road.

In arguing for a seven-year sentence, prosecutors last month said Schmidt had participated in "one of the largest corporate fraud schemes in American history" and led efforts to cover up the company's misconduct in the summer of 2015.

The judge called Schmidt, who had led VW's engineering and environmental office in MI for three years, a "key conspirator" in the deception.

Schmidt read a written statement in court acknowledging his guilt and broke down when discussing his family's sacrifices on his behalf since his arrest in January.

Engineer James Liang cooperated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was sentenced to 40 months in prison last summer.

Schmidt originally faced up to 169 years in prison on 11 felony counts before he entered his guilty plea.

Schmidt was in charge of the company's environmental and engineering office in Auburn Hills, Michigan, until February 2015, where he oversaw emissions issues.

"In the summer of 2015, Schmidt participated in discussions with other VW employees about how they could answer questions posed by USA regulators. without revealing the defeat device", the plea agreement said.

The auto industry is still feeling the repercussions of Volkswagen's diesel cheating. He is the second VW employee to be sentenced in the United States for his role in the Dieselgate scandal.

On Wednesday, German prosecutors said they had begun an initial inquiry into accusations by an environmental group that BMW AG is selling a vehicle that emits up to seven times the allowed levels of smog-forming nitrogen oxides.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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