46ºF

New York Times: Feds find criminal wrongdoing with GM's faulty ignition coverup

photo

DETROIT – According to a report in the New York Times, the U.S. Department of Justice has identified criminal wrongdoing in General Motors' failure to disclose the ignition switch defect responsible for at least 104 deaths.

The Times reports that GM and the federal government are negotiating a settlement that is expected to top Toyota's $1.2 billion--the largest penalty ever paid by an automaker-- fine for concealing an issue with vehicle acceleration.

Since February 2014, GM has recalled more than 30 million vehicles because of the ignition problem.

The automaker had also agreed to set aside $600 million to compensate victims of ignition-related crashes.

A criminal conviction against the company would, as the Times put it, carry symbolic weight. However, the consequences of criminal prosecution could be less abstract for former GM employees who may be charged individually for their involvement in covering up the problem.

Even if GM settles with the government, the automaker would still be subject to state-level fraud investigations and personal-injury civil suits.

You can find more about the GM ignition switch investigation on ClickOnDetroit's special coverage page.