DETROIT – A senior manager at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is facing a list of federal charges in connection with accusations he purposely falsified diesel emissions results.
In a 39-page indictment, Emanuele Palma is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, violating the Clean Air Act, making false statements to investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, and aiding and abetting a group of employees who did the same.
The indictment claims Parma, a 40-year-old Italian citizen living in Bloomfield Hills, worked as a senior manager of diesel drivability and emissions at FCA from 2010 to 2016.
Parma led a team that designed new eco-diesel engines for the 2014 to 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500.
Parma is accused of operating an elaborate scheme to install a "defeat device" in the engines to reduce emissions during testing. He didn't disclose its presence to regulators, according to authorities.
FCA officials admitted to the problem and settled with the federal government under a consent agreement that forced the company to pay a $305 million fine in January.
"We have a lot of emails that talk about not disclosing what they're doing to CARB and EPA, and if those were actually implemented, that's really damaging," said auto emissions regulation expert John German.
German said this is information we didn't know under the consent agreement. He said it makes the situation worse, but not nearly as bad as the Volkswagen emissions scandal.
Volkswagen had to pay $2 billion in fines for turning off the emissions controls except for when it was tested.
FCA's emissions controls worked, but not as well as when the testing was done.