Volkswagen Exec to Plead Guilty to Criminal Charges, Faces Up to 169 Years in Prison

Oliver Schmidt has been detained since his initial arrest in January.

NY Times

As the dust from Volkswagen AG's Dieselgate emissions scandal settles, many have been left behind to face criminal action and long-stay jail sentences. While the company as a whole is already in more than $25 billion, executives are now next in line to receive individual punishment. Oliver Schmidt, the head of Volkswagen’s U.S. regulatory compliance office from 2014 to 2015, will reportedly plead guilty to his part in the emissions cheating crime and face up to 169 years in prison, according to Automotive News.

Among the charges brought against him, Schmidt features major accusations including multiple wire frauds and conspiracy to defraud the federal government—among nine other felonies. The typical sentencing for all of these is 169 years, though it's unlikely that the judge will deal the Schmidt a life term. Schmidt's lawyer, David DuMouchel, declined comment when asked about his client's decision.

A meeting was held on Thursday to discuss the situation, and prosecutors reportedly advised the case judge that Schmidt "was planning to plead guilty." The former VW head has been detained since his arrest earlier in 2017, putting him on the line for his final hearing on early next month.

Automotive News reports that a total of more than 4.3 million documents covering more than 40 million pages have been filed regarding the Volkswagen scheme, easily becoming one of the largest criminal cases in recent years. Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan claimed that the brand "continues to cooperate with investigations by the Department of Justice into the conduct of individuals."

Schmidt is the eighth Volkswagen executive to face charges in relation to Dieselgate, according to Reuters, and will face the judge on August 4 at 9:30 a.m.