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FCA Official Pleads Guilty to Emission Scheme

He conspired to withhold information from the EPA about the design, calibration and function of the systems on Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles.

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DETROIT (AP) — An official at automaker FCA US, formerly known as Chrysler Group, has pleaded guilty in federal court in a scheme to withhold emission systems information on more than 100,000 vehicles.

Emanuele Palma's plea to conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act was announced Thursday by the Justice Department. Palma, 43, is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 17 in federal court.

He and others conspired to withhold information from the Environmental Protection Agency about the design, calibration and function of the systems on 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles, according to court documents.

The vehicles' emissions of pollutants, fuel efficiency and compliance with U.S. emissions standards also was misrepresented.

FCA US was placed on probation for three years last August and ordered to pay roughly $300 million for deceiving regulators about diesel emission systems on the vehicles. The sentence was part of an earlier agreement. FCA in June 2022 pleaded guilty to conspiracy in federal court in Detroit.

FCA now is part of Stellantis.

Engineers were accused of using software tricks and taking other steps to meet U.S. emission standards while marketing the vehicles as "clean EcoDiesel."

"Senior auto officials at FCA US, including Mr. Palma, conspired to circumvent pollution standards and obtain EPA certifications for hundreds of thousands of SUVs and pickup trucks under false pretenses," Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division said Thursday in a release.

In 2017, Volkswagen was ordered to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty for cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests. The company also paid $1.5 billion in a civil case brought by the government and said it would spend $11 billion to buy back cars and offer other compensation.

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