Volkswagen Pleads Guilty in Connection with Conspiracy to Cheat U.S. Emissions Tests

VW has agreed to pay $2.8 billion for its decade-long scheme to sell diesel vehicles containing software designed to cheat U.S. emissions tests

Volkswagen Pleads Guilty in Connection with Conspiracy to Cheat U.S. Emissions Tests
Image: Volkswagen
March 13, 2017

Volkswagen (VW) pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to three felony counts of 1) conspiracy to defraud the United States, engage in wire fraud, and violate the Clean Air Act; 2) obstruction of justice; and 3) importation of merchandise by means of false statements.

As part of the plea, the U.S. Department of Justice says that Volkswagen has agreed to pay a $2.8 billion penalty for its decade-long scheme to sell diesel vehicles containing software designed to cheat on U.S. emissions tests. In January 2017, VW had agreed to plead guilty to resolve these criminal charges.

Volkswagen pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Sean F. Cox of the Eastern District of Michigan. Specifically, VW pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to defraud the United States and VW's U.S. customers and to violate the Clean Air Act by lying and misleading the EPA and U.S. customers about whether certain VW, Audi, and Porsche branded diesel vehicles complied with U.S. emissions standards, using cheating software to circumvent the U.S. testing process, and concealing material facts about its cheating from U.S. regulators.

VW also pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for destroying documents related to the scheme and to importing these cars into the United States by means of false statements about the vehicles' compliance with emissions limits.

After accepting VW's plea, Judge Cox scheduled the company's sentencing for April 21, 2017.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Investigation Division (EPA CID) investigated this case. The case is being prosecuted by members of the Department of Justice's Criminal Division, Fraud Section.