Volkswagen executive gets 7 years in prison for emissions scandal

Oliver Schmidt General Manager Engineering and Environmental Office Volkswagen Group of America Inc. makes his Advanced Powertrain Forum presentation at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars Traverse City Mich

VW Executive Gets 7 Years In Prison In Emissions Cheating Scandal

The man who was in charge of Volkswagen's U.S. environmental and engineering office before the Dieselgate scandal has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

"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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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.

In August, the same court sentenced James Liang, a Volkswagen engineer who had cooperated with investigating authorities, to 40 months and a $200,000 fine for his role in the affair.

Schmidt will be deported after he serves his sentence.

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