"The first count charges that [ ] conspired with other senior VW executives and employees to defraud the United States, defraud VW’s U.S. customers and violate the Clean Air Act by making false representations to regulators and the public about the ability of VW’s supposedly “clean diesel” vehicles to comply with U.S. emissions requirements. The remaining three counts charge [ ] with wire fraud in connection with the scheme."
The DOJ's Press Release seems somewhat different from those released in past administrations that spoke in one voice without comments from each office holder. One finds here quotes from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, US Attorney Matthew J. Schneider, EPA Administrator Pruitt, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Slater. Some of the comments raise concerns. For example, EPA Administrator Pruitt states, “[t]he indictment of former VW CEO [ ] should send a clear message that EPA and its law enforcement partners will seek to hold corporate officers accountable for alleged criminal activities at their company.” Shouldn't accountability come after a conviction and not when one is charged with a crime? Shouldn't one be presumed innocent? Should an indictment be sending a message? Only at the bottom of this long press release does one find a statement that "[a]n indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law."
VW entered into a plea agreement (see here), paying a criminal fine of 2.8 billion. A monitor was appointed, and admittedly an experienced individual in that it is Former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson , who headed up the corporate task force during President Bush's Administration. The plea in the corporate case was to three charges: 1) Conspiracy (section 371 - with acts violating the wire fraud and Clean Air Act); 2) Obstruction of Justice (section 1512); and 3) introducing imported merchandise into the United States by mean of false statements in violation of section 542. The plea called for the company to cooperation in the investigation. One has to wonder whether the company's cooperation provided the evidence that will be used in this case.