DETROIT (WWJ) – A Volkswagen engineer has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, to commit wire fraud and to violate the Clean Air Act in connection with the company’s emissions cheating scandal.
James Liang of California entered the plea Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
Liang allegedly helped design the computer software that allowed certain Volkswagen and Audi vehicles with diesel engines to cheat on emissions tests.
According to the plea agreement, Liang admitted that beginning in about 2006, he and his co-conspirators started to design a new “EA 189” diesel engine for sale in the U.S. According to Liang’s admissions, when they realized that they couldn’t design a diesel engine that would meet the stricter U.S. emissions standards, they designed and implemented software to recognize whether a vehicle was undergoing standard U.S. emissions testing on a dynamometer or being driven on the road under normal driving conditions (the defeat device), in order to cheat the emissions tests.
Liang admitted that he used the defeat device while working on the EA 189 and assisted in making the defeat device work.
The 62-year-old is reportedly going to cooperate in the ongoing investigation.