The Justice Department announced a $1.2 billion settlement with Toyota Motor Corp. today, ending a multi-year criminal probe into the company's disclosure of safety issues, the Washington Post reports. Safety fears emerged around some of the company's most popular brands in 2009 amid allegations of unintended acceleration. In one case a California highway patrol officer and three family members were killed in a high-speed crash near San Diego.
Toyota eventually recalled millions of vehicles — one of the largest consumer recalls in the history of the automotive industry. The Justice Department found that the company did not come clean soon enough. “Today, we can say for certain that Toyota intentionally concealed information and misled the public about the safety issues behind these recalls,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. Toyota admitted wrongdoing and will pay a $1.2 billion fine. The financial penalty is the largest ever imposed on a car company, according to the Justice Department. The automaker will avoid criminal charges as long as it meets the conditions of the agreement.