We post this notice to advise the public of a criminal action, United States v. Toyota Motor Corporation, initiated March 19, 2014 following the filing of a Notice of Intent to File an Information. Also, a related civil forfeiture action captioned United States v. $1,200,000,000 in U.S. Currency was initiated. Both the criminal and the civil actions relate to a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (the “Agreement”) that Toyota Motor Corporation (“Toyota”) has entered into with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, in connection with misleading statements Toyota made to U.S. consumers and its U.S. regulator about two safety-related issues affecting its vehicles, each of which caused unintended acceleration. Specifically, Toyota misled U.S. consumers by concealing and making deceptive statements about a problem with accelerators getting stuck at partially depressed levels, referred to as “sticky pedal” and minimized the scope of another problem with accelerators becoming entrapped at fully or near-fully depressed levels, referred to as “floor mat entrapment.” Contrary to public statements that Toyota made in late 2009 saying it had addressed the root cause of unintended acceleration through a limited safety recall addressing floor mat entrapment, Toyota had actually conducted internal tests revealing that certain of its unrecalled vehicles bore design features rendering them just as susceptible to floor mat entrapment as some of the recalled vehicles. And only weeks before these statements were made, individuals within Toyota had taken steps to hide from Toyota’s U.S. regulator the sticky pedal problem, another cause of unintended acceleration in its vehicles, separate and apart from floor mat entrapment. When, in early 2010, Toyota finally conducted safety recalls to address the unintended acceleration issues it had concealed, Toyota provided to the American public, its U.S. regulator, and Congress an inaccurate timeline of events that made it appear as if Toyota had acted to remedy the sticky pedal problem within approximately 90 days of discovering it.
Pursuant to the Agreement, Toyota has agreed, among other things, to (a) waive indictment and consent to the filing of a one-count felony Information, charging Toyota with committing wire fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343; (b) accept responsibility by, among other things, expressly acknowledging the accuracy of a detailed Statement of Facts that is incorporated into the Agreement; (c) pay a $1.2 billion penalty, in the form of a civil forfeiture, which constitutes the largest ever criminal penalty imposed by the Department of Justice on an automotive company; (d) refrain from future criminal conduct and cooperate fully with the Government; and (e) retain a monitor to (i) review and assess whether Toyota’s policies, practices or procedures ensure that Toyota’s public statements in the United States related to motor vehicle safety are true and accurate; (ii) review and assess the effectiveness of Toyota’s policies, practices, or procedures for making information relating to accidents that take place in the United States available to Toyota’s engineers, Toyota’s chief quality officer for North America, and Toyota’s regional product safety executive for North America; and (iii) review and assess whether Toyota’s policies, practices, or procedures regarding the generation of certain reports in the United States ensure compliance with 49 C.F.R. Part 579. In exchange, the Government has agreed to defer prosecution on the Information for a period of three years, after which time – assuming that Toyota complies in all respects with the Agreement – the Government will seek to dismiss the charges.
On July 16, 2014, the Honorable William H. Pauley, III, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, issued an order forfeiting to the United States $1.2 billion paid by Toyota Motor Company (“Toyota”) as part of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement Toyota entered into with the United States. Individuals who believe that they have suffered a pecuniary loss as a result of the conduct alleged in the Statement of Facts attached as Exhibit C to the Deferred Prosecution Agreement between Toyota and the United States and have not received compensation for their loss may now file petitions for remission with the Department of Justice. The deadline for receipt of petitions for remission is October 15, 2014. Attached is a copy of the regulations governing remission and a sample petition.