VW Exec Pleads Guilty In Dieselgate Scandal, Faces Up To 7 Years In Prison (Update)

3 months ago by Anthony Karr 34

Your new clean diesel turns outto be less clean than you thought?

Oliver Schmidt has pleaded guilty.


Oliver Schmidt officially entered a guilty plea this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Detroit over his role in the Dieselgate scandal. According to Reuters, Schmidt has made a plea agreement that could see him serve up to seven years in prison, with fines ranging between $40,000 and $400,000. He will be sentenced December 6.

Dieselgate, oh Dieselgate! Your next victim could be the former boss of Volkswagen’s environmental and engineering center in Michigan, Oliver Schmidt, who plans to plead guilty during a court hearing on August 4 in U.S. District Court in Detroit. The information was revealed by court spokesman David Ashenfelter, while Schmidt’s lawyer, David DuMouchel, declined to comment.

VW Rounds Up Its Non-Compliant Diesels (via YouTube/Teslarati)

Oliver Schmidt was arrested while trying to take a plane to Germany in January this year, during the 2017 NAIAS in Detroit. He was charged with 11 felony counts with a potential maximum sentence of 169 years in jail.

The court’s original charge said that Schmidt tried to “deceive and mislead U.S. regulators by offering reasons for the discrepancy other than the fact that VW was intentionally cheating on U.S. emissions tests, in order to allow VW to continue to sell diesel vehicles in the United States.”

It was also revealed that he was well aware “the reason for the discrepancy was that VW had intentionally installed software in the diesel vehicles it sold in the United States from 2009 through 2015 designed to detect and cheat U.S. emissions tests.”

U.S. prosecutors have gathered more than 4.3 million documents covering more than 40 million pages in the ongoing probe. The terms of Schmidt’s plea agreement are not clear at the moment.

In February, it was announced Schmidt will remain behind bars due to “an extreme flight risk.” He remains the only one in jail from seven Volkswagen executives charged in the case, as his former colleagues are currently in Germany, outside the reach of U.S. law enforcement.

During the first court hearing, he plead not guilty and his attorney asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Whalen if he could be transferred from his current location to a federal facility in nearby Milan, Mich.

Source: Reuters, 2

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34 responses to "VW Exec Pleads Guilty In Dieselgate Scandal, Faces Up To 7 Years In Prison (Update)"

  1. Moché says:

    Jail the fokker !!!

    1. L"amata says:

      I think you mean “The Follkers”..l m a o …..

    2. Mister G says:

      Don’t drop the soap LOL

  2. Vexar says:

    Betcha he buys his way out of jail time.

    1. CLIVE says:


      1. L"amata says:

        These types of criminals usually always get away with their crimes .Off they go scot free!

        1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          I would say his bosses are safe in Germany, and they are exactly the type of criminals who very rarely get prosecuted. Even few other criminals of the same low caliber as this one are safe at home. This one just had exceptional stupidity to go on vacation to Florida while knowing about investigation going on. So he became a scapegoat.

  3. CLIVE says:


    I wonder How much he has been paid.

    My money is on Bosch.

    1. AlphaEdge says:

      He can’t be a fallguy if lied to authorities. They state that right there in the article!

      He thought, that if he told the truth, his career with Volkswagen would have been over. It was his choice.

      The lesson to be learned here, is that when authorities come around asking questions, never ever lie to them!

      1. CLIVE says:

        Other authorities come by asking questions, say nothing and get a lawyer.

        1. AlphaEdge says:

          Exactly. No one forces you to lie.

  4. Chris O says:

    So what sort of prison terms did those GM execs get for dragging their feet while the faulty ignition switch related body count was rising?

    Or did those VW execs have reason to believe they would get away with murder if it ever came down to it?

    1. CLIVE says:

      Customer satisfaction is worthless

      Customer loyalty is priceless

    2. Kdawg says:

      Not the same things

      1. speculawyer says:

        Yep. It is hard to know the extent of intent with regard to a faulty part. But software that detects a testing situation and then enters a cheat mode is 100% intentional without any doubt.

        1. Chris O says:

          Of course there was no intent to do dangerous parts, but there was a lot of denying (the sort of “deceive and mislead” alternative explanations Mr. Schmidt was accused of trying to peddle) and foot dragging while the body count mounted.

          Maybe it’s legally not the same thing but morally it shows the same disregard for people’s well being with maybe even more deadly consequences, depending on which side one believes in the debate regarding the extend to which VW’s actions can be translated into years of life lost.

          1. ffbj says:

            Exactly correct. When you are aware of the problem and people are dying and being maimed and you intentionally don’t fix it, due to the cost of fixing the problem, as opposed to paying out damages.

            In regard to VW. The fix they promised and have applied to some vehicles, is reportedly not working.

    3. pjwood1 says:

      Even if the houses of auto-sector and airlines tolerate a body count, nobody else worked quite so hard as VW to sell their customers something as “clean”, while so desperately working to deceive them.

      SCR. That was all EPA effectively asked for, when Tier 2 bin 5 came, in ~2008.

    4. Foob says:

      VW’s lies on this killed a lot more people than GM’s.

      1. Chris O says:

        According to some the extra emissions are to low to actually have a measurable effect on life expectation.

        The effect of people dying in a ignition switch related crash however is quite measurable: all the years these people would ordinarily have left under normal circumstances are lost.

        Nobody went to jail for being able to recall and fix the cars when the problems became obvious but deciding to avoid high cost and accept a certain body count instead.

        1. Will says:

          then ‘some’ are wrong 🙂

    5. JIMJFOX says:

      GM didn’t deliberately set out to design the switch to kill people- VW etc DID.
      1. Don’t distract from the real issue- red herring
      2. Why won’t the Germans prosecute their criminals?

      1. Chris O says:

        Why won’t the US prosecute execs that sat on their hands while it was in their power to save lives?

        Probably something to do with supporting the home team.

  5. speculawyer says:

    It is nice to see an actual criminsl prosecution for corporate crime. That is amazingly rare.

    We should see the more often and corporate crime would stop in its tracks. Instead, we get toothless consent decrees such that pollution, fraud, and consumer deception continue unabated.

    Hell, Trump should be in prison for Trump University.

    1. Alaa says:

      Don’t worry. He will go to the big house soon.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        No, he’ll get a pre-emptive blanket pardon when his Vice President is promoted to President, just like Tricky Dick Nixon did.


    2. Kevin Cowgill says:

      Amen brother!

  6. wavelet says:

    He has to be small fry, if his position was just boss of a US facility. None of VW’s actual engine development took place there, except possibly some testing — it was all in central HQ in Germany (and not just for VW — for the entire VW group). In fact, the exec responsible for overall engine development of those turbodiesels was Martin Winterkorn, who was CEO when the scandal broke. No way he as well as all senior engineering VPs in the company were fully aware.

  7. Bul_gar says:

    How much Vw group paid him to go in?

  8. jm says:

    And as long as we are jailing folks for crimes against the environment, let’s get Scott Pruitt arrested as well. Sad!!

  9. Rad says:

    Seven years. How many deaths because of the additional air pollution?

  10. Kevin Cowgill says:

    He and Martin Shkreli could bunk together.

    Oh the damage the guys in smart suits can do. We pay for their crimes. They get stock options.

  11. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    It’s about time.

    “The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.”

  12. JR says:

    He is nothing but a scapegoat, people need a face on the dieselgate, he seems to be it.

    I just dont belive VW is alone in this, must be all diesel producer with same specifications. (NOx)

    This is whats happens when, govements takes it to easy on there big lobying industry.

    And in the end working with big Oil for so many years, make it hard to change to other energyforms, just remeber the case with mercedes that try to use battery for a hybrid car in 2008, had many problems just getting there battery order.

    Tesla with a clean slate and no ties to the old industry seem to be the right way to go!

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