Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Volkswagen executive gets 7 years in prison for emissions scandal

Volkswagen executive gets 7 years in prison for emissions scandal

A federal judge in Detroit sentenced a former Volkswagen executive to seven years in prison for his role in the company's emissions scandal.

Schmidt, who led Volkswagen's USA regulatory compliance office from 2012 to March 2015, was also ordered by a federal judge in Detroit to pay a $400,000 fine.

The first was a company engineer, James Liang, who was handed only a 40-month jail term in August for conspiracy to defraud the USA government and violating the clean air act.

Schmidt's lawyer. David DuMouchel of Detroit, asked for a maximum of 40 months in prison and $100,000 fine.

"I made bad decisions and for that I am sorry", he said.

Instead, Schmidt was sentenced to the maximum penalties outlined in the plea deal.

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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.

Schmidt is one of eight people charged by USA authorities in the emissions scandal, which involved installing software in around 500,000 Volkswagen 2.0-liter diesel vehicles sold in the United States from 2009 through 2015 to make US authorities believe the vehicles met USA emissions standards.

Per the New York Times, US District Judge Sean Cox told Schmidt, "You are a key conspirator responsible for the cover-up in the United States of a massive fraud perpetuated on the American consumer", at the end of a two-hour-long hearing.

Five other VW employees remain at large.

The software reduced harmful emissions of nitrogen oxide when the cars were being tested, but on the road, the emissions were well over limits to control pollution. Schmidt's lawyers argued that his role only heated up in 2015, years after others at VW hatched the scheme, which violated the Clean Air Act.

Schmidt traveled to the USA as the scandal was breaking on a mission to lie to U.S. and Californian authorities so Volkswagen could obtain regulatory approvals to sell 2016 model year diesel vehicles in the United States, according to prosecutors.

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