The judge apparently didn't buy Oliver Schmidt's argument that he was a naive pawn being used by his superiors in Wolfsburg.

Former Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt has been sentenced to seven years in prison and a $400,000 fine for involvement in the diesel emissions scandal.

Schmidt recently sent a letter to the sentencing judge pleading for mercy and framing his role as that of a naive pawn being 'misused' by his superiors and VW's lawyers. The pitch apparently fell short, however.

"It is my opinion that you are a key conspirator in this scheme to defraud the United States," US District Judge Sean Cox said to Schmidt in court, as quoted by Reuters. "You saw this as your opportunity to shine ... and climb the corporate ladder at VW."

The former executive was up against 11 felony charges for violating the Clean Air Act and lying to US environmental regulators.

Prosecutors levied indictments against seven other VW executives, however most are believed to be safely avoiding capture at home in Germany.