BY ROY ALBERT ANDRADE, K1LLER, Inc.
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - Oliver Schmidt, 48, a German national, and former general manager of Volkswagen AG’s U.S. Environment and Engineering Office, was sentenced to seven years in prison for conniving to sell as many as 500,000 diesel “clean diesel” automobiles containing software designed to cheat U.S. emissions tests. Schmidt was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sean F. Cox of the 629,000-square-foot Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse of Michigan, and ordered to pay a criminal penalty of $400,000. Schmidt pleaded guilty on August 4, 2017 to multiple counts, including one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, and one count of violating the Clean Air Act.
“Upon learning of Volkswagen’s massive scheme to defraud and mislead U.S. consumers and regulators, Oliver Schmidt chose to join the conspiracy and deceive U.S. regulators,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “This case, along with the prior prosecution of the company and another Volkswagen engineer, further demonstrate the Criminal Division’s unwavering commitment to hold both corporations and individuals accountable for their wrongdoing.”
“Oliver Schmidt cheated the American people, and today’s sentencing shows that such behavior will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Williams. “The Department of Justice and its partner agencies will continue to work together to ensure a level playing field for all competitors and a cleaner environment for all Americans.”
“This sentence reflects how seriously we take environmental crime,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Lemisch. “Protecting natural resources is a priority of this office. Corporations, and individuals acting on behalf of corporations, will be brought to justice for harming our environment.”
“Americans expect corporations to follow laws and regulations designed to protect consumers and the environment,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Gelios. “The sentence of Mr. Schmidt demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to hold companies that defraud their customers both personally, as well as, corporately accountable for their crimes.”
“As this case demonstrates, EPA is committed to ensuring a level playing field for companies that follow the rules and pursuing individuals whose actions create an unfair competitive advantage for their employer,” said EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Starfield.
Shawn W. Anderson
Jessica K. Mattingly
Roy Albert Andrade