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Boeing Pleads Guilty in Criminal Case

The aircraft manufacturer will pay a nearly $244 million fine as part of the plea deal.

A Boeing 737 MAX 9 lands at Paine Field. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Zera)

Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to a criminal fraud conspiracy charge related to two fatal 737 MAX accidents that occurred in 2018 and 2019, according to a late-night court filing. The company has also agreed to pay a $243.6 million fine.

The case stems from an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department into Boeing’s actions while seeking certification for the 737 MAX from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In a statement to Reuters, a company spokesperson confirmed it had “reached an agreement in principle on terms of a resolution with the Justice Department.”

The crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed a total of 346 people and led to the grounding of the 737 MAX fleet worldwide. Boeing has admitted to misleading the FAA about a new flight-control system called Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) for the 737 MAX, and the Justice Department concluded that Boeing failed to adhere to an earlier settlement agreement to avoid prosecution.

Under the terms of the plea deal, Boeing has agreed to accept responsibility for the conspiracy to defraud the federal government and to pay the fine. The company has also agreed to continue cooperating with the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation.

The agreement still needs to be approved by a federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas, where the case is being prosecuted. If the judge accepts the plea deal, Boeing will become a convicted felon.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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