NY judge approves Toyota-US deal, $1.2B penalty

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York judge has approved a deal letting Toyota pay $1.2 billion and dodge confronting a criminal charge that it defrauded consumers by issuing misleading statements after defects caused Toyota and Lexus vehicles to accelerate unexpectedly and cause injuries and deaths.

But federal Judge William H. Pauley III also scolded Toyota on Thursday, saying the case demonstrates that corporate fraud can kill. And he urged prosecutors to continue to investigate the individuals who were responsible.

Pauley effectively approved a deferred prosecution agreement that calls for a criminal wire fraud charge against Toyota to be delayed for three years. The charge eventually will be dismissed if the company lives up to the terms of the deal.

The agreement was announced Wednesday at a news conference in Washington.

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