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Boeing to Plead Guilty to Criminal Fraud in 737 MAX Crashes

Federal prosecutors accuse the company of misleading regulators about the safety of its aircraft

Boeing to Plead Guilty to Criminal Fraud in 737 MAX Crashes

Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to criminal fraud in connection with the fatal crashes of its 737 MAX aircraft, according to a deal reached with the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The agreement allows the company to avoid a trial.

As part of the deal, Boeing will pay a $487.2 million fine, the maximum allowed by law, and invest $455 million to bolster its compliance and safety programs, according to The New York Times.

The DOJ has recommended that the court credit Boeing with $243.6 million already paid under a prior agreement, effectively reducing the new fine to $243.6 million.

An independent compliance monitor will be installed at Boeing to oversee the company's adherence to regulations during a three-year probationary period.

“We can confirm that we have reached an agreement in principle on terms of a resolution with the Justice Department, subject to the memorialization and approval of specific terms,” Boeing said in a statement after the deal was struck.

Last month, federal prosecutors recommended criminal charges against Boeing, accusing the company of violating the terms of a 2021 settlement. This came after Boeing misled regulators about the safety of its aircraft following a 2018 crash in Indonesia and another in Ethiopia the following year. All 346 people aboard the flights were killed.

The DOJ had until July 7, the day the plea agreement was inked, to decide whether to bring criminal charges. On June 30, the DOJ offered Boeing a choice: accept a plea deal within a week or go to trial.

Critics of the plea arrangement have voiced strong opposition, arguing that the settlement is disproportionately light compared to penalties imposed on other companies for actions that did not result in any loss of life.

“They fined Donald Trump 2x more for accurately appraising the market value of his home than Boeing got fined for killing people,” Sean Davis, CEO and co-founder of The Federalist, wrote in a post on X after the announcement of the deal.

“For criminal fraud that directly led to the deaths of 346 people, multi-billion-dollar corporation Boeing will be fined one fifth of what Alex Jones was ordered to pay for say[ing] something he later retracted and apologized for,” said an author and commentator using the moniker RAW EGG NATIONALIST.

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