This morning, Volkswagen (VW) pled guilty to three felonies in connection with its $4.3 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over the diesel emissions scandal that affects nearly 600,000 vehicles nationwide.
The three felonies include:
- Conspiracy to commit fraud – VW was charged with taking part in a conspiracy with the intention of violating the U.S. Clean Air Act and committing fraud against the U.S. government and U.S. consumers.
- Obstruction of justice – This stems from the destruction of documents related to the scandal.
- Entry of goods by false statement – This charge was for importing vehicles into the country based on incorrect information about the vehicles’ compliance with U.S. emissions limits.
This is the first time VW has entered a guilty plea for criminal conduct in a courtroom anywhere in the world, according to a VW spokesman.
The U.S. District Court in Detroit scheduled sentencing for these charges on April 21.
Terms Of Vw’s Plea Agreement
The plea agreement forces VW to institute massive reforms and submit to audits and oversight from an independent monitor for three years. VW will also pay out a $4.3 billion settlement, with $2.8 billion for criminal penalties and $1.5 billion for civil penalties. The settlement was announced in January.
VW will spend a total of $25 billion to deal with claims from vehicle owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers. The car manufacturer has also offered to buy back nearly 500,000 of the emissions-cheating vehicles.
The scandal involved 2009-2016 VWs, Porsches and Audis with 2.0 or 3.0-liter diesel engines. These vehicles were equipped with software allowing them to pass U.S. emissions testing even though they were emitting 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide.
Additional Criminal Charges
The DOJ has filed charges against seven current and former VW employees for crimes in connection with the scandal. One employee is already in custody and waiting to go to trial. It is believed that five other employees are in Germany, but they have not been arraigned.
The company has suspended two dozen employees and will likely take more disciplinary measures, according to VW Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch.
If you have been affected by the VW emissions-cheating scandal, contact O’Connor, Acciani & Levy’s Volkswagen diesel emissions lawyers right now for a free consultation. We may be able to obtain compensation for the damages you have suffered.
Our experienced defective product attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge attorneys’ fees unless there is a favorable resolution of your claim.