An engineer for vehicles was sentenced to 40 months imprisonment and will pay a $200,000 fine for emissions-cheating deception after cooperating with U.S. prosecutors in their criminal investigation of a conspiracy to defraud government officials and customers.
A pleading of being charged with one count of conspiring to defraud the U.S., committing wire fraud and violating the Clean Air Act for his role in helping vehicles evade emissions requirements with diesel-powered vehicles. As a result, the foreign national agreed to be removed from the U.S. following the prison term, according to prosecutors. The engineer initially moved to and settled in the U.S. to help launch diesel-powered vehicles and handle certification, testing, and warranty issues, prosecutors said.
Furthermore, the sentence imposed by the judge exceeded prosecutors’ recommendation. The initial request was that the accused receive three years imprisonment and a $20,000 fine. It was a stiffer sentence than expected, as the engineer only helped to create software that controlled exhaust emissions. The tough sentence sends a message that employees can and should be held accountable for misdeeds they commit for their corporate employers. Many individuals have not been held responsible for corporate misconduct and this is one of those rare cases; a stunning fraud on the American consumer, being a very serious and troubling crime against our economic system. Such incidences give rise to a reduced trust in corporate America and undermine the economy. As a result, the ruling sends a strong message even though he was not “mastermind” and never benefited financially from its development of devices that masked the high levels of harmful emissions.
From the company standpoint, there was an argument indicating that the case was not criminal in the sense of ‘preying on others’ and that overall the person was blinded by a misguided loyalty and as such a good and decent person. He was also unwilling to walk away from the salary of $350,000.00 that was in place at the time.
In totality, there have been one out of eight individuals charged in this probe to rig approximately 600,000 diesel-engine vehicles with illegal software that cheats on government emissions tests while polluting in excess of legal limits. It has been acknowledged the software is on about 11 million vehicles globally, earlier this year pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the U.S. stemming from the deception and agreed to pay billions of dollars in penalties.The auto maker installs so-called defeat devices on diesel-powered vehicles after they realized the engines couldn’t meet stringent U.S. emissions limits while maintaining the fuel economy and performance customers expected. Others charged are believed to reside abroad and will not most likely be extradited to the U.S. to face charges. The Company has already pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to violate the Clean Air Act, as well as customs violations and obstruction of justice.
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