PHOTO: Photo Illustration: Ford / Volkswagen / CNN
Now playing
01:51
Ford and Volkswagen partner up
Now playing
01:09
Here are some of Budweiser's best Super Bowl ads ever
Steve Gray stands outside his home in Gillette, Wyoming. He called CNN concerned that, following the election of President Biden, that Gillette could become a "ghost town." He says he was laid off from an oil field job in 2015, then subsequently from another job in oil and then one in coal last year.
Steve Gray stands outside his home in Gillette, Wyoming. He called CNN concerned that, following the election of President Biden, that Gillette could become a "ghost town." He says he was laid off from an oil field job in 2015, then subsequently from another job in oil and then one in coal last year.
PHOTO: McKenna Ewen
Now playing
09:21
He called CNN after the election to share his biggest fear
PHOTO: Shutterstock
Now playing
04:42
Ever receive a package you didn't order? It could be a scam
Outgoing US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania arrive at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, on January 20, 2021. - President Trump and the First Lady travel to their Mar-a-Lago golf club residence in Palm Beach, Florida, and will not attend the inauguration for President-elect Joe Biden. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Outgoing US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania arrive at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, on January 20, 2021. - President Trump and the First Lady travel to their Mar-a-Lago golf club residence in Palm Beach, Florida, and will not attend the inauguration for President-elect Joe Biden. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Now playing
03:05
Sales drop at Trump businesses hit hard by pandemic, toxic image
US President Joe Biden signs executive orders for economic relief to Covid-hit families and businesses in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 22, 2021. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Joe Biden signs executive orders for economic relief to Covid-hit families and businesses in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 22, 2021. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:42
Biden signs executive order to promote $15 federal minimum wage
White House senior adviser Kevin Hassett speaks with reporters at the White House, Friday, June 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
White House senior adviser Kevin Hassett speaks with reporters at the White House, Friday, June 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
PHOTO: Alex Brandon/AP
Now playing
05:08
Ex-Trump official who supports Biden stimulus plan speaks out
Miles of unused pipe, prepared for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, sit in a lot on October 14, 2014 outside Gascoyne, North Dakota. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Miles of unused pipe, prepared for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, sit in a lot on October 14, 2014 outside Gascoyne, North Dakota. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Now playing
01:58
Biden revokes Keystone XL pipeline permit
Now playing
03:17
Many believed conspiracy theories about Trump and the election. Now, they're losing faith
SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 08: The suspended Twitter account of U.S. President Donald Trump appears on an iPhone screen on January 08, 2021 in San Anselmo, California. Citing the risk of further incitement of violence following an attempted insurrection on Wednesday, Twitter permanently suspended President Donald Trump
SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 08: The suspended Twitter account of U.S. President Donald Trump appears on an iPhone screen on January 08, 2021 in San Anselmo, California. Citing the risk of further incitement of violence following an attempted insurrection on Wednesday, Twitter permanently suspended President Donald Trump's account. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Now playing
04:29
What impact could deplatforming Donald Trump have?
Members of the Michigan Boogaloo Bois an anti-government group stand with their long guns near the Capitol Building in Lansing, Michigan on January 17, 2021, during a nationwide protest called by anti-government and far-right groups supporting US President Donald Trump and his claim of electoral fraud in the November 3 presidential election. - The FBI warned authorities in all 50 states to prepare for armed protests at state capitals in the days leading up to the January 20 presidential inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. (Photo by SETH HERALD / AFP) (Photo by SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images)
Members of the Michigan Boogaloo Bois an anti-government group stand with their long guns near the Capitol Building in Lansing, Michigan on January 17, 2021, during a nationwide protest called by anti-government and far-right groups supporting US President Donald Trump and his claim of electoral fraud in the November 3 presidential election. - The FBI warned authorities in all 50 states to prepare for armed protests at state capitals in the days leading up to the January 20 presidential inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. (Photo by SETH HERALD / AFP) (Photo by SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Seth Herald/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
04:37
Expert: Social media to extremism is like oxygen to fire
PHOTO: @Virgin_Orbit
Now playing
01:03
Watch this rocket launch from the wing of a jumbo jet
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 22: Facebook
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 22: Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg speaks with AEI president Arthur C. Brooks during a public conversation on Facebook's work on 'breakthrough innovations that seek to open up the world' at The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research on June 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Allison Shelley/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Now playing
01:23
Hear Sandberg downplay Facebook's role in the Capitol riots
Passengers look out at American Airlines flight 718, a Boeing 737 Max, parked at its gate at Miami International Airport as people load for the flight to New York on December 29, 2020 in Miami, Florida. The Boeing 737 Max flew its first commercial flight since the aircraft was allowed to return to service nearly two years after being grounded worldwide following a pair of separate crashes. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Passengers look out at American Airlines flight 718, a Boeing 737 Max, parked at its gate at Miami International Airport as people load for the flight to New York on December 29, 2020 in Miami, Florida. The Boeing 737 Max flew its first commercial flight since the aircraft was allowed to return to service nearly two years after being grounded worldwide following a pair of separate crashes. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Now playing
03:15
Airlines & TSA boost security ahead of Inauguration
Philanthropist Chief Executive Officer of Las Vegas Sands Sheldon Adelson listens to US President Donald Trump address to the Israeli American Council National Summit 2019 at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida on December 7, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Philanthropist Chief Executive Officer of Las Vegas Sands Sheldon Adelson listens to US President Donald Trump address to the Israeli American Council National Summit 2019 at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida on December 7, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
03:14
Major GOP donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson dies
Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden speaks on the state of the US economy on September 4, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden speaks on the state of the US economy on September 4, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:02
Why Wall Street is hopeful about Biden despite economic challenges
(CNN Business) —  

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is suing Volkswagen, accusing the German carmaker of carrying out “a massive fraud” by cheating on emissions tests.

The American market regulator said late Thursday that Volkswagen (VLKAF) and former CEO Martin Winterkorn fraudulently raised billions of dollars from investors, including by overplaying the firm’s environmental credentials.

The German company admitted in 2015 to widespread cheating of carbon dioxide emissions tests using special software installed in millions of vehicles worldwide. Volkswagen has paid out more than $30 billion in penalties as a result of the scandal known as “dieselgate.”

The SEC’s complaint, filed in a federal court in San Francisco, relates to $13 billion in bonds and other securities that Volkswagen issued in 2014 and 2015. The lawsuit alleges that the company made false and misleading claims about its financial health and the environmental impact of its technology in order to sell the securities to investors at inflated prices.

The SEC alleges that senior Volkswagen executives were aware when the securities were sold that more than 500,000 of the company’s vehicles in the United States breached vehicle emissions limits.

“By concealing the emissions scheme, Volkswagen reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in benefit by issuing the securities at more attractive rates for the company,” the SEC said in a statement. The complaint targets Volkswagen, two of its US subsidiaries and Winterkorn.

The SEC is seeking to recover “ill-gotten gains” from the automaker and impose civil penalties. It also seeks to bar Winterkorn from serving as a company officer or director in the United States.

A Volkswagen spokesman said Friday that the SEC’s complaint was “legally and factually flawed, and Volkswagen will contest it vigorously.”

The securities were “sold only to sophisticated investors, who were not harmed and received all payments of interest and principal in full and on time,” the spokesman. The complaint “repeats unproven claims” about Winterkorn who “played no part in the [securities] sales,” he added.

CNN Business wasn’t immediately able to reach Winterkorn for comment.

Winterkorn was indicted by US federal prosecutors last year on charges related to Volkswagen’s emissions scandal. The indictment alleged that he was aware that widespread emissions cheating was taking place and agreed with other senior executives that it should continue.

Winterkorn is not currently in custody and is believed to still be in his native Germany. He quit Volkswagen in 2015 as the scandal was unfolding.

The company is still facing a number of lawsuits, including one by shareholders in Germany who are claiming the company misled them. They’re demanding more than €9 billion ($10 billion) in damages.