Boeing Will Likely Avoid Criminal Charges After Violating $2.5 Billion Settlement Linked To Fatal Crashes, Report Says

Published 23 days ago
By Forbes | Antonio Pequeño IV
British Airways Retires First Of Its Last 747 Jumbo Jets
Press photographers take photographs of a 747-400 jumbo jet, manufactured by Boeing Co., with the registration G-CIVD, operated by British Airways, a unit of International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, departing en route to Lagos, Nigeria on its final flight before retiring, from London Heathrow Airport in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. British Airways, the world's biggest operator of Boeing Co. 747-400s, is retiring its entire fleet of the jumbo jets with immediate effect because of the damage the coronavirus has done to air travel. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)


Boeing is expected to avoid criminal prosecution after the Justice Department recently found it violated a $2.5 billion settlement shielding it from charges over two 737 Max 8 model crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed a total of 346 people, according to The New York Times, which reported that department officials have deemed prosecution of Boeing “too legally risky.”


Instead of criminally prosecuting Boeing, the Justice Department plans to offer the aerospace company a deferred prosecution agreement requiring it to install an independent government watchdog tasked with keeping track of safety and quality control, the Times reported, citing two anonymous sources.

The Justice Department was able to seek prosecution of Boeing, which was charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., in May after federal officials said the company violated its 2021 prosecution agreement by “failing to design, implement and enforce a compliance and ethics program” made to detect and stop potential fraud violations.


The installation of a federal monitor to supervise safety improvements at Boeing is seen by officials as a more efficient way to get the company to fall in line with safety and quality control improvements, according to the Times.

The new settlement offer is expected to be given to Boeing within the month, though terms of the deal could still change, the Times noted.

Boeing and the Justice Department did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment.


$2.5 billion. That is the whopping figure Boeing agreed to pay in the settlement, which included $1.77 billion in compensation to be paid out to Boeing 737 Max airline customers, a $500 million crash-victim beneficiary fund and a criminal penalty totaling $243.6 million.



Boeing’s 2021 settlement was reached after the company was accused of conspiracy to defraud the FAA’s aircraft evaluation arm in connection with the agency’s probe into the 737 Max airplane. Boeing admitted in court documents it misled the FAA about a part known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which automatically pushes down the nose of the aircraft when it detects too high of a pitch. Boeing’s cover-up led to pilots flying the 737 MAX for Boeing’s airline customers without being provided information on the system in manuals or training materials. The FAA concluded the system may have played a role in the 2018 and 2019 crashes that occurred near Indonesia and Ethiopia. The 2018 Indonesia crash killed all 189 passengers and crew on board while the 2019 crash killed 157.


Boeing Violated Agreement Protecting It From Criminal Charges Over 737 Max Crashes, Justice Department Says (Forbes)