Feds Eye Criminal Charges Against Boeing After Settlement Breach

US prosecutors recommended to senior Justice Department officials that Boeing face criminal charges for violating a settlement related to two fatal crashes, according to sources familiar with the matter. The recommendation comes after Boeing was found to have breached a 2021 settlement agreement with the Justice Department related to the crashes of two 737 Max jets in 2018 and 2019, which killed a total of 346 people.


Under the 2021 agreement, Boeing had agreed to pay $2.5 billion to settle a criminal investigation into the 737 Max crashes. In return, the Justice Department agreed not to prosecute Boeing for conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). However, in May 2024, the Justice Department determined that Boeing had breached the terms of the settlement. The breach was reportedly related to Boeing's failure to implement and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of US fraud laws throughout its operations. The Justice Department has notified Boeing of the breach and is considering its options, including extending the terms of the existing settlement or proposing new, stricter terms.


Boeing has denied the Justice Department's findings and is expected to respond by June 13. The company has also faced criticism from the families of the crash victims, who have called on the Justice Department to end the 2021 agreement and pursue criminal charges against Boeing. The Justice Department has until July 7 to decide whether to charge Boeing. If the department decides to proceed with charges, Boeing could face significant legal and financial consequences. 

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The company has already paid billions of dollars in fines and compensation related to the 737 Max crashes and has faced numerous lawsuits from the families of the victims. The recommendation by US prosecutors to charge Boeing is a significant development in the ongoing saga surrounding the 737 Max crashes. It remains to be seen how the Justice Department will respond and whether Boeing will face criminal charges.

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