Judge sends VW manager to prison for 7 years in diesel scam

Published: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 @ 5:06 PM
Updated: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 @ 5:05 PM


            FILE - This January 2017 file photo provided by the Broward County Sheriff's Office shows German Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt. Prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison sentence for Schmidt, a Volkswagen senior manager who pleaded guilty in the automaker's U.S. diesel emissions scandal. Schmidt will be sentenced Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2017 in Detroit federal court. (Broward County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)
FILE - This January 2017 file photo provided by the Broward County Sheriff's Office shows German Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt. Prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison sentence for Schmidt, a Volkswagen senior manager who pleaded guilty in the automaker's U.S. diesel emissions scandal. Schmidt will be sentenced Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2017 in Detroit federal court. (Broward County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

A judge on Wednesday sentenced a Volkswagen senior manager to seven years in prison for covering up a scheme to evade pollution limits on U.S. diesel vehicles, calling it an astonishing fraud on American consumers.

Oliver Schmidt, who is the second person to be sent to prison over the scandal, was dispatched to the U.S. from Germany in 2015 to meet with suspicious California regulators. But he didn't disclose rogue software that had long fooled authorities into believing that VW was meeting emissions rules on nearly 600,000 vehicles. He also misled American investigators and destroyed documents.

"I'm sure, based upon common sense, that you viewed this cover-up as an opportunity to shine — to climb the corporate ladder at VW," U.S. District Judge Sean Cox said. "Your goal was to impress senior management."

The judge called Schmidt, who had led VW's engineering and environmental office in Michigan for three years, a "key conspirator" in the deception.

"Without trust in corporate America," Cox said, "the economy can't function."

The diesel vehicles were programmed to trigger certain pollution results only during testing, not during regular road use. The plan was hatched in 2006, and the vehicles were marketed as "clean diesel." Justice Department prosecutor Ben Singer called it the "height of irony."

Schmidt, 48, was arrested in Miami in January while trying to return to Germany after a vacation. He's been in custody without bond.

"For the disruption of my life, I only have to blame myself. ... I accept the responsibility for the wrong I committed," Schmidt told the judge.

Engineer James Liang cooperated with the FBI and was sentenced to 40 months in prison last summer. Six others at VW or Audi were charged, but they are in Germany and out of reach of U.S. authorities. Among them is Heinz-Jakob Neusser, who was described as Schmidt's boss. He was head of engine development and, later, VW brand development.

VW pleaded guilty as a corporation in March and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in civil and criminal penalties on top of billions more to buy back cars.

Schmidt's lawyer, David DuMouchel, argued that his sentence should be identical to Liang's, noting that his role only heated up in 2015 in the last months of the scheme. But Singer noted that Schmidt still was a major player at key events and purposely "lied and deceived."

"He could have made a lot of different choices," Singer said.

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Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwhiteap

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4X4 obstacle course revs up Saturday

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

The Evans 4X4 Arena obstacle course opens this Saturday.
The Evans 4X4 Arena obstacle course opens this Saturday.

Jeep drivers and 4X4 enthusiasts, start your engines: A new Jeep obstacle course and off-road arena is set to open Saturday.

The Evans 4X4 Arena Obstacle Course will open at 10 a.m. at Evans Arena Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, 924 Shiloh Springs Road, Dayton, the dealership said.

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The event will feature a Jeep show and cruise-in, various food trucks, balloon artists and face painting and more.

The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dealership owner Jim Evans has said the course will be the “biggest and most unique, permanent off road arena in Ohio.”

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“After years of unparalleled efforts to provide quality Jeeps and Rams to consumers, Evans Arena decided to take advantage of new opportunities by launching the only permanent 4x4 arena of this magnitude,” the dealership said in an earlier release. “This arena will provide a clean, yet rugged experience for users to see the true capabilities of the Jeep and Ram 4x4s they’ve grown to love.”

Evans Auto Group also has Volkswagen, Volvo and BMW dealerships on Poe Avenue and an Infiniti dealership in Centerville.

There’s a historical linkage at work here. Evans’ great-uncle, Roy S. Evans, headed the American Bantam Car Co. of Butler, Pa. It was a consultant for Bantam, while working with other engineers and suppliers, who designed the original Jeep military vehicle in the early 1940s.

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Camping World RV super retail center in Huber Heights to generate at least $1.7M for city 

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 9:48 AM

FILE
FILE

Camping World Holdings, a network of RV retail locations, plans to build a super retail center in Huber Heights.

Plans are underway to expand the company footprint with additional locations in several high traffic, outdoor-centric markets, with the new SuperCenters in Georgia, Illinois and Huber Heights. The centers are planned to open later this year. Specific locations have not yet been announced.

The company has agreed to purchase up to 17 acres of city owned land adjacent to the gander Mountain building for expansion, said Fairborn Mayor Jeff Gore in a statement. The land purchase alone will generate up to $1.7 million in revenue for the city. 

“This land purchase will enable the new construction for a larger "campus" of a whole new generation of Camping World Service, Sales, and Operations. Camping World's current plans to grow into the community will have a great economic impact and this additional investment will grow that impact even more,” Gore said. 

The new centers will increase the company’s presence in new markets, but are also in alignment with the company’s strategic growth plans, said said Marcus Lemonis, Chairman of Camping World.

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“As part of Camping World’s growth strategy, the brand is making major investments in the quality of its dealer network. From new strategic acquisitions, new store development and facility upgrades, the company’s network will continue to expand and evolve while serving our customers’ outdoor, RV and camping needs,” he said.

Camping World has locations in Fairfield and London, Ohio, as well as Richmond, Indiana.

Camping World Holdings is headquartered in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Camping World Holdings Inc. was chosen as the winning bidder at a bankruptcy auction for certain acquired assets of Gander Mountain and the sale was approved in a bankruptcy court hearing in May 2017.

Gander Mountain closed its location in Huber Heights, located at 8001 Old Troy Pike, shortly after.

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Dayton Soin Award winner has innovation in its sights

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 9:04 AM

Nicholas Ripplinger, Battle Sight Technologies co-founder, leads a company that has created a technology that creates writing visible exclusively to military, law enforcement and emergency management agencies using night vision.
Nicholas Ripplinger, Battle Sight Technologies co-founder, leads a company that has created a technology that creates writing visible exclusively to military, law enforcement and emergency management agencies using night vision.

Battle Sight Technologies — a Dayton startup that has developed a chemiluminescent writing device — is the 2018 Soin Award for Innovation winner, the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and Soin LLC said Tuesday.

Battle Sight Technologies produces the “MARC IR,” which allows its user to write with a reusable luminescent material, the chamber and Soin said in a joint announcement.

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“It’s a glow stick that you can write with and is reusable,” Nicholas Ripplinger, company co-founder, said in the statement “When you write with the MARC IR, you’re leaving a very thin layer of wax that’s not visible. There’s a series of microcapsules that break when you write with them. The chemicals inside react with the chemicals in the wax, and that’s what causes the glowing reaction.”

Using a chemical that emits infrared, the idea is to create writing visible exclusively to military, law enforcement and emergency management agencies using night vision.

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“It’s invisible to the enemy who’s walking around, but when you have your night vision goggles on, it glows. So what really benefits the soldiers is they can now write words or symbols, so visually, everybody now knows what’s going on in that environment,” Ripplinger said.

The technology came to him through the Technology Acceleration Project, which is the Entrepreneur Center’s push to transfer technology from research to market. The program connects technological advances discovered by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) with for-profit teams equipped to commercialize the ideas.

Ripplinger is a former U.S. Army soldier and non-commissioned officer with command experience. He holds a B.S. in technical management as well as an M.B.A.

Battle Sight’s connection with AFRL and other business supporters in the Dayton region has been beneficial to getting the business off the ground, said Ripplinger.

“Dayton has been a huge part of our success,” he said. “We wanted to rally the community behind us. We’re involved with several non-profits including the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Entrepreneurs Center. We’re trying to be the best community stewards that we can be. In return, we gained a lot of support for what we were doing.”

The Soin Award for Innovation panel of judges, made up of area business leaders and representatives from small business supporters, were impressed with the many applications for Battle Sight’s technology and the company’s strategy for bringing it to the market, focusing first on the defense applications, the chamber said.

Battle Sight Technologies’ win earns a $25,000 prize and various marketing opportunities thanks to support from Soin LLC, Cox Digital Marketing and CareWorks.

The Soin Award for Innovation began on the chamber’s 100th anniversary as a way to honor innovative area businesses. The Raj Soin family has been the benefactor of the award since its inception.

Learn more about Battle Sight Technologies and the MARC IR at www.battlesighttech.com.

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To stop porch thieves, Amazon will put packages in cars

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 8:31 AM


            KARA DRISCOLL/STAFF
KARA DRISCOLL/STAFF

To stop porch thieves from stealing packages after delivery, Amazon is now testing a new concept where they’ll put customers’ packages in their parked cars.

Amazon is rolling out the program in 37 cities for customers with new compatible vehicles. With Amazon Key In-Car, Prime members with compatible vehicles now have the convenience of having packages delivered inside their cars when parked in a publicly accessible area, typically at their home or workplace, the company said in a statement.

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In-car delivery is available at no extra cost for Prime members.

Customers download the Amazon Key App and then link their Amazon account with their connected car service account. Once setup is complete and the delivery location has been registered, customers can shop on Amazon.com and select the “In-Car” delivery option at checkout.

“In-car delivery gives customers that same peace of mind and allows them to take the Amazon experience with them. And, with no additional hardware or devices required, customers can start ordering in-car delivery today,” said Peter Larsen, vice president of delivery technology at Amazon.

In-car delivery is available to customers with a compatible 2015 or newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle with an active OnStar account, and customers with a 2015 or newer Volvo vehicle with an active Volvo On Call account. Support for even more vehicle makes and models will be added over time.

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