Emanuele Palma was charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud, defrauding the U.S., violating the Clean Air Act and making false statements about the emissions system used on Fiat Chrysler's U.S. diesel vehicles, according to Reuters, which cited a grand jury indictment dated Sept. 18.
Reuters quoted the indictment as saying that Palma and unnamed co-conspirators "purposefully calibrated the emissions control system" to produce lower emissions under federal test cycles and higher emissions in real-world emissions.
The news service quoted a Justice Department spokesman as saying that Palma was arrested this morning by the FBI at his residence in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Earlier this year Fiat Chrysler agreed to pay about $800 million to resolve civil allegations brought by states, car owners and the Justice Department, which said the company's diesel-powered pickups and SUVs violated clean-air rules, according to Bloomberg and Reuters.
Fiat Chrysler said in a statement to both news services that it was "just learning about details of the matter. We will continue to cooperate fully with authorities."
Bloomberg said it's the first criminal case from the U.S. related to allegations of diesel emissions cheating at Fiat Chrysler, "[deepening] scrutiny that has roiled the global auto industry and has already resulted in criminal charges and billions of dollars in penalties against Volkswagen AG (VLKAF) ."