(Reuters) — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ U.S. business was sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty to criminal conspiracy in June and will pay nearly $300 million to settle a multi-year investigation into the Justice Department’s diesel emissions fraud.
FCA US LLC, formerly Chrysler Group LLC, previously reached a plea deal with the Justice Department and agreed to pay $96.1 million in fines and forfeit $203.6 million. FCA US, now a unit of Stellantis NV, was also sentenced to a three-year suspended sentence.
The company had been accused of making false statements about diesel emissions in more than 100,000 US 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles.
The Justice Department said FCA had conspired to cheat US emissions tests.
The $300 million criminal penalty “is the result of an exhaustive three-year investigation,”; Deputy Attorney General Todd Kim said. “This resolution demonstrates the Department of Justice’s determination to hold corporate criminals accountable for misleading regulators.”
The government noted that FCA USA had previously paid a $311 million civil penalty and $183 million in restitution to over 63,000 people as part of a diesel class action lawsuit.
The automaker must conduct an initial review of its compliance with the Clean Air Act and inspection and testing procedures, submit a report, and prepare at least two follow-up reports.
The Justice Department said FCA USA installed deceptive software features intended to evade regulatory review and fraudulently help diesel vehicles meet required emissions standards.
The settlement comes five years after Volkswagen pleaded guilty to criminal charges to solve its own emissions crisis affecting nearly 600,000 American vehicles in a scandal that became known as “Dieselgate.” VW has paid more than 30 billion dollars in connection with the scandal.