Boeing Will Plead Guilty to Fraud After 2 Plane Crashes Killed 346 People, as Families Slam 'Sweetheart Deal'

Boeing said it would plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the the United States

<p>Getty</p> Boeing jet


Boeing jet

Boeing will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States as part of an agreement with the Justice Department. The charge is related to two fatal 737 MAX 8 jet crashes that killed a combined 346 people in 2018 and 2019.

According to a court filing outlining the plea agreement reviewed by PEOPLE, Boeing will be subjected to a $487.2 million fine and will be required to invest at least $455 million in its own compliance and safety programs. A federal judge will need to approve the plea agreement before it becomes official.

Boeing will also be overseen by an independent monitor for the next three years, per the terms of the deal.

The charge against Boeing stems from the 2018 crash of a Lion Air flight and the 2019 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight, both of which were operating Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets.

Related: Lion Air Plane's Black Box Found After Crash as Relatives Identify Belongings of 189 Killed

In the court filing, prosecutors said the guilty plea would hold Boeing “accountable for its material misstatements to the Federal Aviation Administration.”

The Associated Press reported that prosecutors had alleged that Boeing misled federal regulators about the 737 MAX’s flight control-system, which was linked to both crashes.

Prosecutors acknowledged in the filing that families of the 346 victims were opposed to the plea agreement and have requested to brief the court about their opposition.

“This sweetheart deal fails to recognize that because of Boeing’s conspiracy, 346 people died,” Paul Cassell, a lawyer for several families said, according to the AP. “Through crafty lawyering between Boeing and DOJ, the deadly consequences of Boeing’s crime are being hidden.”

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The plea deal comes months after Boeing was the subject of negative press because of a January incident, during which an Alaska Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing after part of the cabin blew out in mid-air.

Related: Alaska Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing in Portland After Part of Plane Blows out Mid-Air

The plane in question in the January incident was a Boeing 737 MAX 9.

A statement from the Justice Department, reported by CNN, says the plea agreement only applies to the two crashes and does not give the company immunity for the Alaska Airlines incident.

“DOJ is resolving only with the company — and providing no immunity to any individual employees, including corporate executives, for any conduct,” the department said in the reported statement. “DOJ is resolving with Boeing only for misconduct that predated the 737 Max crashes — and not providing immunity for any other corporate conduct, including the Alaska Airlines 1282 incident.”

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Read the original article on People.