Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Sep 20, 2016 in Product Liability
A Volkswagen (VW) engineer recently pled guilty to wire fraud, violating the Clean Air Act and conspiracy to defraud the government for his role in Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal.
The engineer admitted to taking part in VW’s “clean diesel” program, in which engineers installed "defeat devices" in approximately half a million vehicles from 2009 to 2015.
The defeat devices allowed vehicles to pass emissions tests even though they were emitting up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide, which has been known to cause respiratory problems in human beings.
Federal documents show that the engineer attempted to cover up the existence of the defeat devices on at least two occasions.
The maximum penalty for the engineer's crimes is a $250,000 fine and five years in prison. In exchange for his cooperation, government officials have agreed not to use any new information about the engineer against him at sentencing.
This is the first criminal charge in the scandal, but more charges could be filed as the Department of Justice continues its investigation of the company.
Also, the engineer's cooperation could help investigators identify other co-conspirators. An assistant U.S. attorney revealed that the engineer knew two other people who were engaged in the same criminal activities that he was engaged in.
In June 2016, Volkswagen agreed to pay $15 billion to settle government and consumer lawsuits. Of that, $10 billion has been set aside to buy back or repair vehicles with the defeat devices.
Volkswagen is in the midst of a Justice Department civil lawsuit in Detroit and a class-action lawsuit in California.
If you own a Volkswagen made between 2009 and 2015, you may be able to join a class action lawsuit to recover compensation for the damages you have suffered.
Contact the Volkswagen emissions scandal lawyers at Stephens, Anderson & Cummings to discuss all of your legal options.