Volkswagen engineer who cooperated with authorities in investigating the automaker’s diesel emissions-cheating efforts was sentenced to 40 months in prison and a fine of $200,000. James Liang, a diesel engine expert, became the first person sentenced by court in connection with the diesel scandal. Earlier this month, volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt pleaded guilty to related charges and could face up to seven years in prison and a similar fine. Liang’s role in the emissions-cheating effort as an engineer working in Volkswagen, California, office with the title of leader of diesel competence, according to government filings, was to calibrate the diesel engine soft to recognize specific emissions tests of drive cycles. The defeat devices themselves operated by detecting when a vehicle was being tested for emissions and turned on all emissions-control systems that otherwise remained off when the car detected that it was driven on the road. The ruse worked for over eight years with Liang and other VW employees falsely certifying to the EPA and California . Independent tests by a university research team eventually uncovered significant discrepancies between the cars actual emissions in on-road tests and their stated emission levels, with Volkswagen publicly admitting to creating emissions-cheating software in September 2015.

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