Boeing Avoids Criminal Trial Over 737 Max Crashes After Striking Deal with Biden DOJ


Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to a criminal fraud charge related to two 737 Max jetliner crashes that killed 346 people in exchange for escaping criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice.

In a court filing Sunday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the DOJ said the airplane manufacturer will plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States by lying to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Justice Department has accused Boeing of misleading regulators about a flight-control system that was implicated in an October 2018 Max jetliner crash in Indonesia and a March 2019 crash in Ethiopia.

Under the deal, the aerospace giant agreed to invest at least $455 million to beef up its compliance and safety programs and pay a $243.6 million fine, according to The Associated Press.

That’s on top of a $243.6 million fine the company paid in a 2021 settlement.

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Boeing also will be subject to probation for at least three years under the oversight of an independent compliance monitor.

“This deal follows an earlier agreement between the DOJ and Boeing in 2021, when the company promised to make safety changes after the two overseas Max crashes,” the AP report said.

“But prosecutors say Boeing did not hold up its end of the deal. In May, the federal government said Boeing ‘breached its obligations’ under the agreement ‘by failing to design, implement, and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of the U.S. fraud laws.'”

The plea deal covers only the corporation and not any current or former Boeing officials.

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Under the agreement, the court will determine how much restitution should be paid to the families of the deceased.

However, in a separate filing Sunday, attorneys for the families said they will ask the judge to reject the deal because it “unfairly makes concessions to Boeing that other criminal defendants would never receive and fails to hold Boeing accountable for the deaths of 346 persons.”

Many on social media slammed the plea deal, saying it fails to hold Boeing accountable for its actions.

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In 2021, Boeing entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ in exchange for agreeing to pay more than $2.5 billion broken down into the following:

• A criminal penalty of $243.6 million.
• Compensation of $1.77 billion to Boeing’s 737 MAX airline customers.
• Establishment of a $500 million crash-victim fund for the families of the 346 passengers who died on Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

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