Volkswagen, the largest automaker in world, has recently come under investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for installing software in its vehicles to manipulate emissions tests. Volkswagen has been utilizing this software to trick regulators into believing that their vehicles comply with emission standards when in truth, their vehicles emit pollutants up to 40 times admissible EPA standards. Meanwhile, the Justice Department opened a criminal probe to discover the individuals responsible for the misconduct. Volkswagen and any other culpable executives or individuals may be charged with fraud and conspiracy, amongst various other criminal charges. Foreign regulatory agencies are also expected to open investigations.
After allegations of the fraud broke, Volkswagen issued a statement promising to correct the irregularities in their software and pledging to set aside 6.5 billion euro ($7.3 billion) to do so. Volkswagen’s CEO Martin Winterkorn also addressed the issue in a video statement, assuring that the company will rectify their mistakes with the utmost transparency. Volkswagen could be faced with fines by the EPA for up to $37,500 per car, roughly equivalent to a maximum fine of $18 billion. Volkswagen has halted sales of their vehicles for the time being. Despite these efforts at damage control, suits have been filed against Volkswagen by consumers alleging fraudulent inducement for paying higher premiums for clean diesel vehicles.
If you or someone you know has suffered physical or financial harm as a result of a defective automobile or other product, it is essential you understand your rights under the law. Contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884 for a confidential consultation.