General Motors agreed to pay $900 million as part of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the company’s failure to fix an ignition-switch defect that caused at least 120 deaths.
Federal prosecutors charged GM with wire-fraud and a charge for “engaging in a scheme to conceal a deadly safety defect” from automotive industry regulators. GM was permitted to enter a plea of not guilty if the company fixes its recall processes. Will this case be business as usual, ending with a simple fine, or will someone actually get charged and arrested?
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says federal prosecutors are still working the case and in the end someone could be charged. “We’re not done, and it remains possible we will charge an individual,” said Bharara. “If there is a way to bring a case like that, we will bring it.”
Engineers, attorneys, and executives with GM have known about the defects for years. However, they concealed the problem and failed to take steps to fix them.
“To sum it up, they didn’t tell the truth in the best way that they should have, to their regulators, to the public, about the serious safety defects that risked life and limb,” said Bharara.
GM’s greed and secrecy are a continuation of the long-standing corporate mantra of profits over people and safety.
Watch the Ring of Fire report below of when GM expanded its recall.
For more on this story, visit USA Today: GM agrees to $900 million criminal settlement over ignition-switch defect