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GM Agrees to $900 Million Criminal Settlement Over Defective Ignition Switches

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GM Agrees to $900 Million Criminal Settlement Over Defective Ignition Switches

General Motors Co. will pay $900 million to settle the U.S. Justice Department case related to its mishandling of a faulty ignition switch that has been linked to at least 124 deaths, multiple outlets have reported. The settlement with prosecutors comes after GM failed for over a decade to recall 2.6 million vehicles with the defective product, despite evidence of a deadly issue.

Problems with the ignition switch caused small cars, primarily Saturn Ions and Chevrolet Cobalts from┬ámodel years 2003 through 2007, to shut off during operation, disabling the airbag, power brakes, and power steering – ultimately putting both drivers and passengers in great danger of car accidents. The government is expected to charge GM with criminal wire fraud for allegedly concealing information and making misleading statements regarding the flawed component, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Prosecutors are still in the process of looking into individual employees, but the likelihood of criminal charges being pressed against them has dwindled as the investigation has advanced, people familiar with the matter stated. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the law makes it troublesome to impose greater penalties on a company or to prosecute individuals. “Technically, it isn’t illegal to sell a car that has a defect that can kill people,” he explained to CNN.

The anticipated financial penalty is less than the staggering $1.2 billion penalty Toyota Motor Corporation agreed to pay last year to settle a similar case after admitting that it misled U.S. consumers by concealing and making deceptive statements about inadvertent acceleration problems in its vehicles. Faulty or defective products can cause serious personal injury and in some cases, wrongful death. If you or somebody you love has been the victim of a faulty product, contact an experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer for a free case evaluation.

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