Background

The Department of Justice reports that a major automaker has pleaded guilty to three felony counts charging (1) conspiracy to defraud the U.S., engage in wire fraud, and violate the Clean Air Act; (2) obstruction of justice; and (3) importation of merchandise by means of false statements. As part of the plea, the automaker agreed to pay a $2.8 billion penalty stemming from its decade-long scheme to sell diesel vehicles containing software designed to cheat on U.S. emissions tests. In January, the company had agreed to plead guilty to resolve these criminal charges. 

According to the DOJ, the automaker lied and misled the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. customers about whether certain diesel vehicles complied with U.S. emissions standards, used cheating software to circumvent the U.S. testing process, and concealed material facts about its cheating from U.S. regulators. It also obstructed justice by destroying documents related to the scheme and imported the vehicles in question in violation of U.S. law.

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