VW Executive Charged in U.S. Emissions Probe to Plead Guilty

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
vw executive charged in u s emissions probe to plead guilty

Oliver Schmidt, former top executive at Volkswagen’s environmental and engineering center in Michigan, is ready to plead guilty in a U.S. District Court in Detroit next month. Schmidt is charged with 11 felony counts relating to VW’s diesel emissions scandal and may be eligible for a maximum sentence of 169 years, according to federal prosecutors.

While the trial isn’t scheduled until August 4th, a spokesman for the court indicated the former-VW executive is seeking a plea deal. The details of the bargain are currently unknown, but it’s likely to involve a reduced sentence in exchange of information on the scandal’s murky history.

“It is now clear that Volkswagen’s top executives knew about this illegal activity and deliberately kept regulators, shareholders and consumers in the dark — and they did this for years,” stated FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe in January. “We can’t put companies in jail but we can hold their employees personally accountable.”

U.S. prosecutors have already amassed millions of documents relating to the emissions cheating scandal and earlier reports indicated Schmidt helped authorities make sense of them.

According to Reuters, federal court spokesman David Ashenfelter explained that prosecutors and lawyers told U.S. District Judge Sean Cox on Tuesday that Schmidt had already decided to plead guilty.

James Liang, the longtime Volkswagen employee who pleaded guilty to misleading regulators in September, has also been cooperating with regulatory investigators and will be sentenced on August 25th. He could spend up to 5 years in prison, although the maximum penalty is unlikely.

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12 of 13 comments
  • Carzzi Carzzi on Jul 25, 2017

    I have a feeling James Liang will see a lot more of prison than Schmidt ever will (if he even does).

  • Stingray65 Stingray65 on Jul 25, 2017

    My guess is that his testimony will reveal the VW diesel software cheat was a Russian hack. The resulting added Nox emissions short-circuited the brains of US citizens causing them to vote en-mass for Donald Trump. All part of Putin's plan to put his puppet in the White House. I expect we will be reading about in in the Bezos Post any day now.

  • Zip89123 Zip89123 on Jul 25, 2017

    Witch hunt. How many people did VW kill? VW ignition switches killed how many?

    • See 7 previous
    • Tresmonos Tresmonos on Jul 26, 2017

      @SCE to AUX Possibly so - depends on the paper trail. I read that the change was due to mitigate the ignition failure found in test fleets. If so, they are bypassing DOT regulations by not reporting and coinciding a new part #. That is deceitful. From my experience, I have never seen a part change that didn't require a new part number and even then, it has extensive documentation signed off by the designer, current MY program management and the supplier (usually a quality engineer). To say this change wasn't done without any knowledge would be to say that absolutely everyone besides the designer pencil whipped the change through. I guarantee that the tier 1 at least knew the reasoning (along with the designer). If you're right, I'll roll my eyes yet again for piss poor engineering. So many in the profession that don't see the big picture nor do they take pride in what they do. It's a disgrace. That is the pitfall of standardizing a profession to the point that anyone can do it. Some days I think that there are hardly any intellectuals left in the profession.

  • Zip89123 Zip89123 on Jul 26, 2017

    Folks working in concentration camps got less time than that.