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SEC Charges Volkswagen With Fraud

Some four years after the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal became front page news, the German automaker is still dealing with the aftermath.

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently charged Volkswagen and former chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn with investor fraud for allegedly lying about the cheating scandal. Prosecutors say the company issued more than $13 billion in bonds and other asset-backed securities, despite knowing that some 500,000 vehicles far exceeded legal limits on emissions in the United States. The company and certain executives also knew that the cheating scandal in which engineers rigged cars to pass emissions tests put VW at substantial risk of financial and reputational danger.

“Volkswagen hid its decade-long emissions scheme while it was selling billions of dollars of its bonds to investors at inflated prices,” SEC official Stephanie Avakian said in a statement announcing the charges.

The Environmental Protection Agency in 2015 found that Volkswagen deliberately provided false information about emissions for a wide range of diesel cars. That “massive fraud” cost the company approximately $25 billion in penalties and related costs.

The SEC in a new lawsuit filed in San Francisco said the company should have made investors aware of the scandal sooner. Prosecutors allege Winterkorn and others were aware of the emissions fraud as early as 2007, some eight years before the EPA announced its findings.

How a Securities Attorney Can Help You

The new VW case is an attention-grabbing example of significant fraud that appears to have cost investors billions of dollars. But it’s not by far the only example of investors allegedly being swindled out of their hard earned cash.

Fortunately, there are a number of legal protections for investors and various tools that can be used to help those who have been victimized by fraud. That includes a class action lawsuit, brought on behalf of a group of investors who have been defrauded. Everyone who meets certain requirements is automatically included in the class, but people also have the option to opt out.

A class action offers the benefit of allowing a large group of investors to share the cost and leverage their claims. The potential money penalties and damages that a company faces in a class action dwarfs that typically in play in smaller investor lawsuits.

Speak With a Securities Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been the subject of securities fraud, you are well-advised to seek the counsel of an experienced securities attorney. An attorney can help you weigh your rights and options, including whether to join a class actionor opt out and pursue a separate action.

At Glancy Prongay & Murray, our securities attorneys have been representing people in securities, consumer and other fraud cases for more than 25 years. We have a strong track record of success in these cases, including through multimillion-dollar settlements. Call us at (310) 201-9150 or contact us online to speak with an attorney today.