Boeing Agrees to Plead Guilty to Misleading US Regulators and Pay Fines, Yet Victims' Families Are Upset

By Trisha Andrada

Jul 08, 2024 04:00 AM EDT

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Boeing would reportedly plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the US and pay up to $487 million in penalties to avoid prosecution. (Photo : PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Boeing has reportedly agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States to avoid prosecution, according to a court filing made by the Department of Justice on Sunday, July 7.

The plane maker may also be fined up to $487 million and spend $455 million over the next three years to enhance its compliance and safety processes.

Proposed Settlement

Following two tragic 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019, the deal indicates that Boeing will be subject to a three-year probationary period overseen by the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, as the New York Times reported.

The probation will include an independent compliance monitor appointed by the DOJ to provide yearly reports to the government about implementing and observing safety measures. The firm will be fined additional fines if any of the provisions are breached.

Also, the corporation's board of directors must meet with the relatives of the accident victims.

Unhappy Relatives

The counsel of the victims' families, however, claims that neither the supervision nor the penalties were enough to appease them, according to a CNN report.

The victims' relatives asked the aircraft company to pay $24.8 billion. Therefore, that $487 million fine is only a fraction of their demand. Some relatives are opposed to the potential settlement.

All parties involved are requesting that the charges be tried in open court.

In response, Boeing said the company can certify that it and the DOJ have agreed in principle about the parameters of a settlement, subject to the approval of particular details.

READ NEXT: [TIMELINE] How Boeing Came Under Fire by Federal Lawsuit Over Fatal Crashes

737 Max Accidents

The allegations state that the corporation committed deception against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) while seeking certification to operate the 737 Max with its first customers.

The planes were grounded for 20 months after two deadly accidents, even though they began service in 2017. An investigation found that its autopilot system had a defect in its design. A Boeing official acknowledged the company's role in the tragic accidents and said workers had lied to the FAA during certification about a design defect.

The DOJ and Boeing settled criminal charges in January 2021 and agreed to postpone prosecution of the case. As a result, Boeing was required to fix its quality problems and be more transparent with the government for three years. Further action was made possible by the January Alaska Airlines incident, which occurred days before the probationary term was to finish.

READ MORE: Boeing Reaches Agreement to Acquire Spirit AeroSystems for $4.7 Billion: Report

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