Pending Criminal Division Cases

Takata Airbag Inflator Matter
(U.S. v. Tanaka et al.)
Court Docket No.: 16-cr-20810-GCS-EAS (E.D. Michigan)

Court Assigned: This case is assigned to Judge George Caram Steeh, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Courtroom 236, United States Courthouse, 231 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226.


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United States v. Takata Corporation: On January 13, 2017, Tokyo-based Takata Corporation, one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive safety-related equipment, was charged in a criminal information with one count of wire fraud for its conduct in connection with the sales of defective airbag inflators.

As charged, from approximately 2000, Takata knew that certain ammonium nitrate-based airbag inflators were not performing to the specifications required by the auto manufacturers. Takata also knew that certain inflators had sustained failures, including ruptures, during testing. Nevertheless, Takata induced its customers to purchase these airbag systems by submitting false and fraudulent reports and other information that concealed the true condition of the inflators. This fraudulent data made the performance of the company’s airbag inflators appear better than it actually was, including by omitting that, in some instances, inflators ruptured during testing. Takata employees – including a number of key executives – routinely discussed the falsification of test reports being provided to Takata’s customers in email and in verbal communications. Even after the inflators began to experience repeated problems in the field – including ruptures causing injuries and deaths – Takata executives continued to withhold the true and accurate inflator test information and data from their customers. In addition, Takata took no disciplinary actions against those involved in the falsification of test data until 2015, despite the fact that senior executives had been made aware of the fraudulent conduct years earlier.

Takata has agreed to plead guilty to the charge and pay a total of $1 billion in criminal penalties, including $975 million in restitution and a $25 million fine. Takata has also agreed to implement rigorous internal controls, retain a compliance monitor for a term of three years and cooperate fully with the department’s ongoing investigation, including its investigation of individuals.

Two restitution funds will be established: a $125 million fund for individuals who have been physically injured by Takata’s airbags and who have not already reached a settlement with the company, and a $850 million fund for airbag recall and replacement costs incurred by auto manufacturers who were victims of Takata’s fraud scheme. A court-appointed special master will oversee administration of the restitution funds. This website will be updated about the process and procedures by which the funds will be administered by the special master when it becomes available.

For more information about the Takata and Tanaka et al. charges, please see below:
Press Release – January 13, 2017
Press Release – February 27, 2017
Takata Corporation First Superseding Information
Takata Corporation Plea Agreement
Tanaka et al. Indictment
Restitution Order
Judgment

The parties will work with Judge Steeh to set up procedures that will allow individuals harmed by Takata airbag modules to be notified of court dates and to have an opportunity to be heard. In addition, Judge Steeh will establish a protocol for receiving impact letters or oral statements from individuals harmed by Takata airbag modules.

The information on this website will be updated as new developments arise in the case. If you have any questions, please call the Victim Assistance Line toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or email us at victimassistance.fraud@usdoj.gov.

The Crime Victims’ Rights Act applies only to victims of the counts charged in federal court, and thus individuals may not be able to exercise all of these rights if the crime of which the individual is a victim was not charged. The determination of whether a person or entity qualifies as a victim under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act will be made by Judge Steeh.


Presumption of Innocence: It is important to keep in mind that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty and that presumption requires both the court and our office to take certain steps to ensure that justice is served.

Crime Victims’ Rights Act and Right to Retain Counsel: The Crime Victims’ Rights Act (18 U.S.C. § 3771) applies only to victims of the counts charged in federal court, and thus individuals may not be able to exercise all of these rights if the crime of which the individual is a victim was not charged. Section 377I(c)(2) of this Act requires that we advise you that you have the right to retain counsel. Although the statute specifically sets forth your right to seek advice of an attorney with regard to your rights under the statute, there is no requirement that you retain counsel. The Government may not recommend any specific counsel, nor can the Government (or the Court) pay for counsel to represent you. Government attorneys represent the United States.

If you elect to obtain counsel to represent your interests, please have your attorney notify this office in writing at: U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, 10th & Constitution Avenue, NW, Bond Building, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20530, Attention: Victim Witness Unit; fax: (202) 514-3708; or email: victimassistance.fraud@usdoj.gov. If you elect not to retain counsel to represent your interests, you do not need to do anything.

Plea Agreements: Please be aware that many criminal cases are resolved by plea agreement between the Department of Justice and the defendant. You should also know that it is not unusual for a defendant to seek to negotiate a plea agreement shortly before trial is scheduled to begin. Plea agreements can be made at any time and as late as the morning of trial, leaving little or no opportunity to provide notice to you of the date and time of the plea hearing. If the court schedules a plea hearing in this case, we will use our best efforts to notify you of available information as soon as practicable. If you want to inform the prosecutor of your views regarding potential plea agreements, or any other aspect of the case, please contact the prosecutor assigned to this case or call the Victim Assistance Line toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or email us at victimassistance.fraud@usdoj.gov.

Updated April 24, 2017