A few months ago, the United States Department of Justice charged several Volkswagen executives for the emissions cheating scandal, and one of the men was Oliver Schmidt. He was arrested back in January before his flight to Germany, and since then had been detained in US soil.
Schmidt was the former person-in-charge of the company’s regulatory compliance office. The case was filed against six other executives. On Friday, August 4, he finally pleaded guilty in the US District Court in Detroit for breaking emission laws and misleading the U.S. Government. He pleaded to a single count of “conspiracy to defraud the US to commit wire fraud and violate the Clean Air Act”.
By doing so, Schmidt could be fined between $40,000 and $400,000, while facing up to seven years in prison, before being deported back to Germany. Seven years might sound like a long time but it is a much lighter sentence than he should have faced. All in all, he was charged with 11 felony counts, and that is equivalent to a total of 169 years in prison, in other words, he will be given a lifetime sentence in prison. As expected, the 48-year-old German native took a plea deal.
Schmidt also said that he met with other Volkswagen employees to give the California Air Resources Board a careful answer when asked about VW TDI emissions discrepancies. He did this to convince the CARB to approve the sales of the VW vehicles even if he knew that these cars utilized a defeat device to circumvent regulations.
During his plead, he admitted that he knew of the two fraudulent and missing reports that VW sent to the Environmental Protection Agency. He also said that the company’s marketing campaign is just a bunch of false advertising.
Jean Williams, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and National Resources Division Deputy, said that the people from VW prioritized corporate sales over the environment’s safety with their scam, and that they lied to the American purchasers. Schmidt and the others who are involved in the Dieselgate scandal will have to face the consequences of their actions as the investigation continues.
Today, Schmidt will be joining VW Engineer James Robert Liang and South Korean VW executive, Yun in the next couple of years in prison. We are also aware that there are other members of the company that are involved in this but some of them have not pleaded guilty just yet. Schmidt will be sentenced on December 6, 2017.