VW Engineer Gets 4 Year Prison Sentence For Role In Diesel-Gate Scandal

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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A Volkswagen engineer was sentenced to 40 months in prison and fined $200,000 for participating in the German automaker’s scheme to dupe emission regulations.

U.S. District Judge Sean Cox sentenced engineer James Liang for conspiring to defraud the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, committing wire fraud, and violating the Clean Air Act. Prosecutors initially requested a 3-year prison sentence and a $20,000 penalty, but the judged upped the sentence and fine.

Liang also agreed to be repatriated back to Germany from the U.S. following his prison term, according to prosecutors. He moved to the country in 2008 to help VW launch a diesel-powered vehicle fleet.

The engineer is one of eight people charged in a U.S. Justice Department investigation of the company’s years-long attempt to rig nearly 600,000 diesel-engine vehicles with defeat devices, allowing VW officials to dupe regulators. DOJ officials have also leveled charges against company executives for covering up the scandal.

Oliver Schmidt, the German automaker’s former emissions compliance official, for instance, pled guilty in early August for his role in the duplicity. He was charged in 2016 with conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

Schmidt was one of several VW executives charged in a 10-year conspiracy to dupe regulators on the environmental quality of its diesel vehicles. The company also agreed to a $4.3 billion settlement in January, putting an end to the yearlong investigations into the German automaker’s diesel emissions cheating.

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