Details were unsealed Tuesday in a Detroit federal court.
Earlier this year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reached a final settlement concerning emissions cheating with its 2014 – 2016 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesels, without admitting fault. Now, a grand jury in Detroit indicted the company’s diesel calibration manager, according to new details which emerged Tuesday.
Under indictment is Emanuele Palma, who now faces a wide range of charges. Prosecutors accuse Palma of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Clean Air Act violations and making false statements. As with Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, among others, officials accused FCA of cheating to meet diesel emissions requirements. The vehicles performed differently on the road than they had under testing conditions.
Part of resolving the EcoDiesel scandal was a civil settlement that afforded over 100,000 owners the opportunity for more than $3,000 each in cash compensation. While the scheme is still going on, several owners have reached out to TFL saying they had not been compensated.
Palma previously worked for VM Motori, a wholly-owned Italian FCA subsidiary. He now works for FCA as a diesel drivability and emissions senior manager, according to the court filing. The Detroit Free Press released a report on the filing, mentioning Palma’s alleged misconduct from December 2011 to April 2017. The filing says Palma and others “mislead FCA’s regulators, customers and the public” by making false statements.
FCA says it is cooperating with the investigation. “We have implemented rigorous new validation procedures and updated our training programs to ensure continued compliance with the increasingly complex regulatory environment,” said FCA chief technical compliance officer Mark Chernoby. “We continue to fully cooperate with the authorities, as we have throughout this issue.”
Back in August, we published a story documenting owners’ issues with their EcoDiesel vehicles after a recall. Check that out below, and stay tuned to TFLcar.com and TFLtruck.com for updates.