A maximum seven-year sentence for former Volkswagen AG executive Oliver Schmidt closes a long chapter in perhaps the largest and most expensive conspiracy in the global auto industry's history, reports the Detroit News.
Volkswagen Group, the umbrella company that owns VW, Audi, and Porsche, has paid about $30 billion in fines and buyback costs since regulators discovered it was including emissions-cheating software on its diesel vehicles.
To view the full article, register now. The German national pleaded guilty.
In August, VW engineer James Liang was sentenced to 40 months in prison for his role in helping the German carmaker cheat U.S. emissions tests.
Federal Judge Sean Cox rejected defense claims that Schmidt had just "read from a script" provided by his superiors at Volkswagen.
"In my opinion, you were a key conspirator, responsible for the cover-up in the United States", Cox said.More news: U.S. senator Al Franken to resign amid allegations
Schmidt pleaded guilty to his part in the coverup, but argued that VW had "misused" him.
Schmidt apologized in court and broke down while detailing what his family had been through since his arrest in January.
Oliver Schmidt, the Volkswagen official has been sentenced to seven years of imprisonment and charged a fine of $400,000.
Last week, Schmidt's attorneys made a last-minute bid requesting a lighter sentence for Schmidt: 40 months of supervised release and a $100,000 fine. "As a effect of that role, he was literally in the room for important decisions during the height of the criminal scheme".
Half a dozen other former VW executives are still at large, but Schmidt's stiff sentence could lessen the odds of others indicted in the case being prosecuted, with many residing in Germany, the Detroit Free Press reported.