WASHINGTON — As early as this summer, General Motors could be served with a record penalty for its failure to disclose an ignition defect linked to 104 deaths.
The New York Times reports that the penalty comes as prosecutors at the Justice Department identify criminal wrongdoing on the part of the automaker.
There are reports that the penalty could far exceed a $1.2 billion penalty paid by Toyota for not disclosing an unintended acceleration problem. That penalty is the largest on record for a U.S. car maker.
Laura Christian of Harwood, Maryland lost her 16-year-old daughter, Amber Marie Rose, in 2005 in a Maryland crash linked to the ignition defect.
“Money isn’t true justice, jail time is true justice,” Christian said.
Christian said current and former employees of GM that knew about the deadly defect, and kept quiet, should face criminal charges.
Christian also said slapping a record penalty on the auto maker won’t bring about change that is needed to prevent situations like this in the future.
“People will forget over time and companies like GM will again put profit over people,” she said.
Christian also hopes Congress doesn’t see a financial penalty as an end to the matter. She believes new laws are needed to protect consumers.
Prosecutors with the Department of Justice are said to be working out a deal with GM, and the results could be announced as early as this summer, according to The New York Times. The automaker tells the paper that it is cooperating with all Justice Department requests, but is unable to comment about the status of the investigation.
GM recalled 2.6 million cars believed to have the defect last year.
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