Former VW Executive Sentenced To Seven Years In Prison

Former VW executive Oliver Schmidt has been sentenced to seven years in prison and fined $400,000 for his involvement in the dieselgate scandal.

Schmidt served as the head of VW’s environmental and engineering office in Michigan and was arrested in January after travelling to the United States with his family. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the federal government and for violating the Clean Air Act.

Judge Sean F. Cox imposed the sentence in line with the recommendation of prosecutors.

“You are a key conspirator responsible for the cover-up in the United States of a massive fraud perpetuated on the American consumer,” the judge said at sentencing.

Just days before sentencing, Schmidt penned a letter to the judge, admitting that he had been “misused” by VW when he disclosed the brand’s use of diesel software that cheated emissions while in a 2015 meeting with a senior official from the California Air Resources Board.

“A script, or talking points, I was directed to follow for that meeting was approved by management level supervisors at VW, including a high-ranking in-house lawyer. Regrettably, I agreed to follow it,” Schmidt said.

Only one other VW employee has been sentenced in the United States over dieselgate, company engineer James Liang, who received a 40-month term in August.

Many of the senior executives reportedly involved in the scandal are German citizens and out of the reach of American justice. It was Schmidt’s decision to travel to the United States from his native Germany that allowed for his arrest.


  • Bash

    TBH I didn’t expect that. I thought It would end with a huge fine -couple of millions-.

  • Alexander Carabitses

    I remember him being a guest on Autloine After Hours a few times so this is really ashamed. I still don’t understand why he thought it would be a good idea to travel to the US with everything that was going on. VW’s management still got its wish as yet another pawn has fallen.

  • TheHake

    Getting 7 years for this. But when you rape and kill someone you sit for 2-3 years. Crazy.

  • Auf Wiedersehen

    I have found the transcript from the courtroom that day:

    “You are a key conspirator responsible for the cover-up in the United States of a massive fraud perpetuated on the American consumer, you should be so lucky to work for an amazing forthright, outstanding member of corporate America like General Motors and only killed 100 people But the environment? You have crossed the line sir. You make me sick! How do you even sleep at night? This court will not stand by while corporations destroy the environment…now kill 125 people and cover it up? meh…we get it, no big whoop..smack smack don’t do that again…but you sir? You are a menace to society and I hope you take the time while incarcerated to understand what you have done and come to terms with it! Bailiff, get him out of my courtroom! I have a luncheon with senior management at General Motors and I’d like to keep my appetite.”

  • Vassilis

    This is silly.

  • Enter Ranting

    So, he stuck to a script given to him by criminals, then reentered the U.S. after the scandal. Bon voyage! Don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.

  • bb88

    GM’s ignition switch defect that tied to 124 deaths. No jail time for any of the GM employees who were involved!!

    • Blackwater

      Most of those deaths occurred because the drivers were morons.

      Most weren’t wearing seat belts. Many were drunk or high.

      While the ignition switch fiasco was bad (only because an exec decided cover-up was the way to go) but had the dead been better, and more alert, drivers….thinks would have been different.

      • Awroo

        “Most of those deaths occurred because the drivers were morons”
        You are pulling this out of your ass. Go ahead you to disable your car’s airbags. I’m sure your driving skills and alertness will keep you safe when you get into a crash.

  • bb88

    GM’s ignition switch defect tied to 124 deaths and none was sentenced to jail!!

  • Six_Tymes

    Wow, my comment that I made days ago got deleted.
    shame on you for doing so. it was a legitimate question.