"This crime. attacks and destroys the very foundation of our economic system: That is trust", U.S. District Judge Sean Cox of Detroit said in court, according to the outlet.
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"You saw this as your opportunity to shine. and climb the corporate ladder at VW."
The judge sentenced Schmidt to five years in prison for the conspiracy count and a consecutive 24 months on the second count. The prison term and the fine together represent the maximum sentence that Schmidt could have received under the plea deal he signed in August. He hid the software tricks from California regulators and gave up phony explanations for differences in emissions, prosecutors contended.
Schmidt was the chief of Volkswagen's engineering and environmental office in MI.
Schmidt admitted to concealing from regulators Volkswagen's use of illegal software on almost 600,000 vehicles that allowed them to dupe government emissions tests while polluting far beyond legal limits on the road.
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Copson told the whistleblower, according to the Cummings letter , that Flynn would ensure the sanctions were withdrawn. Neither Copson nor an attorney for ACU responded to a request for comment.
Other executives from Volkswagen, as well as the company itself, are still under investigation in Germany and facing lawsuits from investors in the U.S. Schmidt's lawyers argued that his role only heated up in 2015, years after others at VW hatched the scheme, which violated the Clean Air Act.
Oliver Schmidt, 48, is the second person to be imprisoned in the United States over the diesel emissions scandal.
In March, Volkswagen AG pleaded guilty to three felonies and agreed to pay a $2.8 billion criminal fine.
U.S. prosecutors have charged eight current and former Volkswagen executives.
In a letter to the judge published earlier this week, Schmidt said he felt like he was "misused" by VW in the diesel scandal.
Schmidt will be deported after he serves his sentence.