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Toyota Pays $1.2B to End Criminal Probe

It's an unusually large settlement for an automaker
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2014 7:49 AM CDT
Updated Mar 19, 2014 9:15 AM CDT
Sources: Toyota to Pay $1.2B to End Criminal Probe
In this Nov. 5, 2010 photo, a Toyota Camry is shown after it crashed in Wendover, Utah. Police suspect problems with its accelerator caused the crash, which left two dead and two others injured.   (AP Photo/Utah Highway Patrol, File)

(Newser) – Toyota will write a hefty $1.2 billion check to end a four-year Justice Department investigation into its unintended acceleration scandal, Attorney General Eric Holder announced today. It's the largest criminal penalty against a car company in US history, according to USA Today. "Today we can say for certain that Toyota intentionally concealed information and misled the public about the safety issues behind these recalls," Holder said, calling the company's conduct "shameful." The deal will include a "deferred prosecution agreement," which means the DoJ will suspend its indictment provided Toyota mends its ways, the New York Times reports.

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FBI investigators found internal records show that it knew the problem was bigger than it let on. A Toyota spokesman says the company has "made fundamental changes" since to improve its responsiveness. It's also already paid another $1.6 billion to settle various lawsuits from car owners. The settlement comes just as the FBI is turning its gaze on another automaker embroiled in a safety scandal: General Motors. (Read more Toyota stories.)

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