On February 24, 2017, Volkswagen AG, the parent company of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., is expected to enter a guilty plea to federal felony charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and criminal import violations, arising out of a decade-long global conspiracy to defraud consumers and the United States government by intentionally disabling emissions control systems on over 500,000 Volkswagen models.
Despite sentencing guidelines calling for a fine in the range of $17,000,000,000 to $34,000,000,000, the Volkswagen Plea Agreement provides for a fine of only $2,800,000,000 and no restitution for victims of Volkswagen’s fraudulent behavior.
The Plea Agreement also provides for complete immunity for Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. despite the fact that James Liang, Volkswagen of America’s “Leader of Diesel Competence” from 2008 to 2016, has pled guilty to federal criminal charges for his actions in cheating consumers and the federal government on Volkwswagen of America’s behalf.
Given these facts, the irony of the name Volkswagen–the “people’s car”–is difficult to overstate.
Steven T. Webster, Webster Book LLP