VW executive sentenced to 7 years for emissions scandal

VW Executive Gets 7 Years In Prison In Emissions Cheating Scandal

Former Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt, who has pled guilty to criminal charges that he conspired to cover up the automaker's diesel emissions cheating scandal, was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison by a MI federal judge. Schmidt was also ordered to pay a criminal penalty of $400,000, according to a US Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.

Oliver Schmidt, the second and most senior employee of the German automaker to plead guilty in the emissions cheating scandal, is among seven current and former VW executives that U.S. prosecutors have charged so far. In August, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and to making a false statement under the Clean Air Act.

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.

Schmidt, who had returned to Germany, was arrested in Florida in January after attempting to return home from a vacation following the filing of an Federal Bureau of Investigation complaint. Chief Executive Matthias Mueller last month predicted record deliveries of vehicles for the company this year, and the Volkswagen auto brand has said it expects record deliveries for 2017, and raised its midterm profitability outlook.

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Schmidt was charged with 11 felony counts and federal prosecutors said he could have faced a maximum of up to 169 years in prison.

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. Six of those remain at large. The software allowed the cars to pass emissions tests under lab conditions, while disabling the emissions-control software under real-world driving conditions so the cars would have better performance.

Cox said Schmidt knew Volkswagen's vehicles weren't compliant with US 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.

Schmidt's lawyers argued that his role only heated up in 2015, years after others at VW hatched the scheme. Schmidt ran VW's USA engineering and environmental office from 2012 through early 2015 and was responsible for obtaining regulatory approval for VW vehicles sold in the U.S.

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