GM near settlement with U.S. over ignition-switch scandal

September 17, 2015, 1:05 PM UTC
GM Says Dealers Told to Stop Selling Some Chevrolet Cruzes
General Motors Co. 2014 Chevrolet Cruze vehicles sit on the lot at a dealership in Southfield, Michigan, U.S., on Friday, March 28, 2014. General Motors Co. said it has instructed dealers to stop selling some 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Cruze compact cars with 1.4 liter engines while not saying why the halt was ordered. The Cruze isn't part of the recall of 1.6 million cars that GM has been dealing with in the past month after faulty ignition switches were linked to the deaths of 12 people. Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photo by Bloomberg—Getty Images

General Motors (GM) is expected to expected to announce a settlement Thursday with the U.S. Justice Department over a defective ignition switch that has been connected with more than 100 deaths.

The Wall Street Journal reports that GM will be charged with criminal wire fraud for making deceptive statements about the ignition switch. The charge will come with a $900 million fine, but GM is expected to enter a deferred-prosecution agreement which would dismiss the financial penalty if GM agrees to certain oversight terms set forth by the government.

According to a report by a former U.S. attorney that was commissioned by GM, people at the company knew about the defective switch for more than a decade. The company ended up recalling more than 26 million cars in 2014. Lawyers leading a fund set up by GM to compensate victims have said that the ignition-switch problem killed at least 124 people, according to the Associated Press.

It’s still unclear whether any individual GM employees or executives will face criminal charges.