Not bad considering he was looking at 169 years for 11 felonys

Two years after Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal exploded, the hammer is now falling on those who are involved. Oliver Schmidt, the man who was at the helm of Volkswagen’s U.S. environmental and engineering office before the scandal broke out, has been sentenced to seven years in prison and fined $400,000 for his role in the scandal. The prison term is shorter than it could’ve been after Schmidt entered a guilty plea on 11 felony counts. If he hadn’t done that, he would’ve stood to face up to 169 years in prison.

Six other Volkswagen executives, including the former head of development, Heinz-Jakob Neusser, have also been charged in the U.S. for their involvement in the Dieselgate scandal.

It’s hard to imagine a seven-year prison sentence as good news, but it’s far better than spending 169 years behind bars. The shortened prison term and the $400,000 fine is what Oliver Schmidt now faces after being found instrumental in concealing information about Volkswagen’s flawed emissions standards to U.S. authorities. The former VW exec tried to minimize his role in the scandal, claiming that he was “misused” by the German automaker in the diesel scandal and that he was simply following a script laid out by management he lied to the California Air Resources Board.

Evidently, Schmidt’s pleas fell on deaf ears. According to Automotive News, District Court Judge Sean Cox labeled him a “key conspirator” after prosecutors found Schmidt guilty of deleting documents that tied him to the scandal. "I’m sure, based on common sense, that you viewed this cover-up as an opportunity to shine — to climb the corporate ladder at VW,” the judge said during the hearing. “Your goal was to impress senior management."

His sentencing now makes him the second Volkswagen employee to go to prison in the U.S., joining former engineer James Liang, who was sentenced to 40 months in prison and fined $200,000 back in August. Six other Volkswagen executives, including the former head of development, Heinz-Jakob Neusser, have also been charged in the U.S. for their involvement in the Dieselgate scandal.

References

Volkswagen Diesel Scandal Explained
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Read more on the Dieselgate scandal.

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Read more Volkswagen news.

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