A federal judge in MI has sentenced a former high-level Volkswagen manager to seven years in prison for his part in the scheme to cheat emissions tests and defraud consumers.
The prison sentence and fine for the executive, Oliver 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 United States regulators and violate clean-air laws.
Cox said Schmidt knew Volkswagen's vehicles weren't compliant with USA emissions standards and sentenced him to consecutively serve 60 months in prison for the first count and 24 months for the second count in addition to fining him $400,000.
To view the full article, register now. These allowed vehicles to cheat pollution tests. "You saw this as your opportunity to shine. and climb the corporate ladder at VW".
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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.
Last week, Schmidt's attorneys made a last-minute bid requesting a lighter sentence for Schmidt: 40 months of supervised release and a $100,000 fine.
He is the highest-ranking VW employee to be convicted in the scheme in the U.S. and the chances that the USA authorities will prosecute more senior VW executives are slim as most are in Germany, which is unlikely to extradite its citizens to stand trial in the US.
Volkswagen rebounded from the scandal during the past year. Schmidt also wrote a letter to the judge, which surfaced over the weekend, in which the executive said he felt "misused" by his own company and claimed that higher-ranked VW executives coached him on a script to help him lie to a California Air Resources Board (CARB) official.
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At the Los Angeles auto show last week, the head of Volkswagen's USA operations declared, "we're back", citing improved U.S. vehicle sales.
The judge sentenced Schmidt to five years in prison for the conspiracy count and a consecutive 24 months on the second count.
According to a DOJ press release published today, "Schmidt knew that VW's diesel vehicles were not compliant with USA standards and regulations and that these representations made to domestic customers were false".
He returned to Germany the same month where he was told about the existence of the software.
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The auto industry is still feeling the repercussions of Volkswagen's diesel cheating.