Conspiracy charges were filed against AutoNation, in connection to the Volkswagen emissions scandal. The complaint states that AutoNation conspired with Volkswagen to equip vehicles with a device that would lower emission test readings over 40 times their actual value, in order for these vehicles to pass clean air emission standards.
The conspiracy charges against AutoNation were brought by Lisa Lowrence, a woman who purchased a vehicle from an AutoNation Volkswagen dealership. She suspected that the vehicle she purchased, which was marketed as an eco-friendly car, was in fact outfitted to bypass U.S. Environmental Protection Agency compliance standards. Any criminal charges will be prosecuted by the government as of 2015, while individuals may seek civil damages in future proceedings.
Conspiracy charges are usually brought against parties who agreed to either commit an illegal act, or to carry out a legal act in an illegal way. Typically, all actors of a conspiracy may be charged with the crimes committed by other co-actors in the furtherance or as a natural and probable consequence of the goals of the conspiracy. As such, AutoNation could potentially face charges of fraud and deception, as well as violations of the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Additionally, AutoNation could face charges for violations of the Clean Air Act.