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General Motors Agrees to Deferred Prosecution Agreement and a $900 Million Forfeiture

On September 16, 2015, Detroit, Michigan based General Motors Company (GM), upon the approval of its Board of Directors, entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the United States. GM agreed to forfeit $900 million and consented to the filing of an Information, charging GM with engaging in a scheme to conceal a deadly safety defect (i.e. low-torque ignition switch) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the commission of wire fraud. 

Under the terms of the DPA, GM admits that, from the spring of 2012 to  about February 2014, it failed to disclose to NHTSA and the public  the potentially lethal safety defect that caused airbag non-deployment in certain GM model cars (e.g. Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Saturn) and that GM misled consumers about the safety of cars afflicted by the defect. The forfeited $900 million constitutes property derived from the proceeds of GM’s conduct and wire fraud. 

In consideration of GM’s entry into the DPA, the United States Attorney’s Office, Manhattan, New York, will recommend to the Court a deferment of criminal prosecution for a period of three (3) years with the presumption that GM meets all of its DPA obligations.

Pursuant to the DPA, GM also agreed to retain an Independent Monitor, approved by the Deputy Attorney General, who will be empowered to review and assess GM’s policies and procedures concerning motor vehicle safety, recall practices, and defects in certified pre-owned vehicles.

To date, GM has acknowledged a total of fifteen deaths that occurred in crashes in which the safety defect contributed to airbag non-deployment.

As of 2012, GM was the largest automotive manufacturer in the world. 

We are conducting this investigation with the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.