A judge has sentenced a Volkswagen senior manager to seven years in prison for covering up a scheme to evade pollution limits on US diesel vehicles, calling it an astonishing fraud on American consumers. Oliver Schmidt, who is the second person to be sent to prison over the scandal, was dispatched to the US from Germany in 2015 to meet with suspicious California regulators, the AP reports. But he didn't disclose rogue software that had long fooled authorities into believing that VW was meeting emissions rules on nearly 600,000 vehicles. He also misled American investigators and destroyed documents. US District Judge Sean Cox called Schmid, former general manager of VW's US engineering and environmental office, a "key conspirator" in the deception.
"I'm sure, based upon common sense, that you viewed this cover-up as an opportunity to shine—to climb the corporate ladder at VW," Cox said Wednesday. The diesel vehicles were programmed to trigger certain pollution results only during testing, not during regular road use. Schmidt, 48, was arrested in Miami in January while trying to return to Germany after a vacation. He's been in custody without bond. "I accept the responsibility for the wrong I committed," Schmidt told the judge. Engineer James Liang cooperated with the FBI and was sentenced to 40 months in prison last summer. Six others at VW or Audi were charged, but they are in Germany and out of reach of US authorities.
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