Unsealed indictments reveal charges against former FCA officials
Charges include conspiracy, wire fraud, Clean Air Act violations
US federal prosecutors have unsealed criminal charges against three Fiat Chrysler Automobiles officials. The charges accuse the trio of conspiring to cheat federal emissions testing and deceive buyers about the fuel efficiency of more than 100,000 light-duty diesel vehicles sold in America.
News of the charges comes from the Detroit News, who reported on an unsealed indictment of diesel senior manager Emanuele Palma and two officials with FCA Italy (now part of Stellantis), Sergio Pasini and Gianluca Sabbioni. They were responsible for the development and calibration of the 3.0L diesel engine used in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 models starting from 2014. The three were part of FCA’s R&D department, though allegedly started the project while working for supplier VM Motori.
The prosecutors claim that the three and their co-conspirators coined the term “cycle beating” as part of an alleged scheme to calibrate emissions control systems to emit lower emissions when undergoing regulatory testing and higher emissions during real-world driving. The indictment was unsealed 18 months after Palma was first charged, said the News.
Charges in the unsealed indictment against Pasini and Sabbioni include one count of conspiracy to defraud the US and violate the Clean Air Act, one of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and six counts of violating the Clean Air Act. The most serious of the charges is wire fraud conspiracy, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Palma was charged in September 2019 with 13 counts, though four wire fraud charges were dropped in November 2020.
In 2019, then FCA and regulators revealed a settlement on the vehicles that included an emissions fix and an $800 million settlement as well as extended warranty coverage and cash compensation.