General Motors has agreed to a $900 million settlement with the U.S. Government over a criminal case dealing with faulty ignition switches.
According to Reuters, prosecutors charged the company with wire fraud and scheming to conceal material facts from a U.S. regulator. The company acknowledged that it didn't reveal the issue to safety watchdogs or customers in due course. Along with the fine, GM will have an independent monitor to oversee its recall and safety-related practices for the next three years. If GM follows this along with other obligations, the criminal charges will be dropped.
“They let the public down... They didn’t tell the truth,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a press conference this morning in New York City.
"The mistakes that led to the ignition switch recall should never have happened," said GM CEO Mary Barra in a statement. "We have apologized and we do so again today."
Now at this time, the Justice Department hasn't charged any individual over the ignition switch problem. This has caused some criticism to come out.
“GM killed over 100 people by knowingly putting a defective ignition switch into over 1 million vehicles. Yet no one from GM went to jail or was even charged with criminal homicide. This shows a weakness in the law not a weakness in the facts," said Clarence Ditlow, head of the Center for Auto Safety.
Bharara hasn't ruled out charging individual GM employees, but explained there are "legal and factual" challenges to bringing them to trial. "The law does not always let us do what we wish we could do."
Separately, General Motors has agreed to $575 million settlement dealing with civil lawsuits.