Boeing will plead guilty to fraud conspiracy in US criminal case News
Marek Slusarczyk, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Boeing will plead guilty to fraud conspiracy in US criminal case

Boeing is set to plead guilty to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay a fine of $243.6 million, according to a Sunday court filing from the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

The plea deal comes after the DOJ found that Boeing violated a 2021 settlement regarding two fatal 737 Max jetliner crashes that took place in 2018 and 2019. The crashes took place in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killing 346 passengers and crew members. In the deal, Boeing agrees to pay a fine of $243.6 million, invest at least $455 million in its compliance and safety programs, and impose an independent compliance monitor, according to Sunday’s filing. Additionally, the deal gives the court discretion to impose restitution for the victims’ families.

Boeing began receiving national scrutiny following an incident that occurred last January where the door plug to a 737 Max 9 aircraft flew off. Because the blowout caused a hole in the side of the aircraft, the pilots had to make an emergency landing. Following this incident, the Federal Aviation Administration began investigating the soundness of Boeing’s manufacturing process.

The plea deal only includes the corporation as the source of wrongdoing for the fatal crashes, yet investigations into the January incident are possible, leaving open the possibility of additional charges.

Earlier last month, Boeing CEO David Calhoun attended a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing where he apologized for the mid-flight door blowout.

Following Calhoun’s testimony, the 2018 and 2019 crash victims’ families released a letter demanding federal prosecution over the crashes. “[T]he victims and their families suffered enormous nonpecuniary losses—namely the pain and anguish associated with the 346 deaths that Boeing directly and proximately caused,” the letter stated.

The plea deal awaits approval by a federal judge before taking effect.