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Volkswagen engineer sentenced to 40-month prison term in diesel case

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Staff Writer |
James Liang
Auto industry   U.S. District Court Judge Sean Cox

A federal judge in Detroit sentenced former engineer James Liang to 40 months in prison for his role in Volkswagen AG's multiyear scheme to sell diesel cars that generated more pollution than U.S. clean air rules allowed.

U.S. District Court Judge Sean Cox also ordered Liang to pay a $200,000 fine, 10 times the amount sought by federal prosecutors.

Cox said he hoped the prison sentence and fine would deter other auto industry engineers and executives from similar schemes to deceive regulators and consumers.

Liang was part of a long-term conspiracy that perpetrated a "stunning fraud on the American consumer," Cox said, as the defendant's family looked on in the courtroom.

"This is a very serious and troubling crime against our economic system."

Liang pleaded guilty earlier this year to misleading regulators, and had cooperated with U.S. law enforcement officials investigating Volkswagen.

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