A veteran Volkswagen (VW) engineer pled guilty to criminal charges for taking part in the automaker’s “clean diesel program,” in which engineers installed devices in approximately 500,000 diesel vehicles that allowed them to pass emissions tests even though they were emitting illegal levels of nitrogen oxide.
The engineer, who was the leader of diesel competence, pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, wire fraud and violating the Clean Air Act. If he receives the maximum penalty, he could serve five years in prison and pay a $250,000 fine.
The former VW engineer has agreed to cooperate with government investigators. In exchange, prosecutors will not use information pertaining to his own criminal conduct against him during sentencing, according to the plea agreement.
This is the first criminal charge to be filed against VW officials in the year-long emissions scandal. As the Department of Justice continues to investigate, additional criminal charges could be imposed against VW higher-ups.
While federal prosecutors have not commented on their intent to charge VW employees, this first criminal charge likely indicates more to come against co-conspirators mentioned in court documents.
The recently-charged Volkswagen employee is said to have given prosecutors information regarding other employees and officials involved in the 10-year conspiracy.
An assistant U.S. attorney said that the engineer knew at least two others at VW who engaged in the same criminal activities that he did.
The Department of Justice implemented guidelines in 2015 allowing for individuals to be held accountable for their roles in corporate investigations. Experts say the government is cracking down on companies for cheating the American public.
If your VW vehicle was affected by the emissions scandal, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. The Volkswagen diesel emissions lawyers at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy will fight to maximize your compensation in light of the extensive emissions scandal affecting thousands of U.S. VW automobiles. Conversely, if you or a loved one has been injured in a Volkswagen vehicle that may have been caused by a potential vehicle defect, contact a personal injury lawyer from our legal team today.