Oliver Schmidt, VW’s compliance liaison with American regulators, pleaded guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and another of violating the Clean Air Act. Federal prosecutors sought the maximum of seven years, while Schmidt asked U.S. District Judge Sean Cox to limit his sentence to 40 months, saying he’d been coached to lie about emissions by his bosses.
Cox sentenced Schmidt to 60 months for the first count and 24 months for the second count, to run consecutively. Schmidt was fined $400,000. Schmidt knew VW’s vehicles weren’t compliant with U.S. emissions standards, Cox told the defendant.
“In my opinion, you were a key conspirator, responsible for the cover-up in the United States,’’ the judge said. Schmidt worked with VW management to conceal the fraud, using it as an “opportunity to shine, and climb the corporate ladder,’’ Cox added. “This is a very serious, troubling offense.