Daniel Carder (pictured) conducted a $50,000 study at West Virginia University that set off the scandal.
Volkswagen has agreed to pay out $14.7 billion over its emissions-cheating diesel-powered cars in one of the largest consumer class-action settlements in US history.
The settlement filed in federal court calls for the German auto giant to pay each owner up to $10,000 in cash, and either buy back or fix the 'clean diesel' cars designed to trick air-quality tests.
The company has agreed to spend a maximum of $10.03billion compensating owners. Volkswagen will pay an environmental penalty of $2.7billion and spend another $2billion on promoting eco-friendly cars.
The payout will affect owners of 2009 to 2015 diesel models of Volkswagen Jettas, Passats, Golfs and Beetles. The TDI Audi A3 is also included.
The $2.0 billion will go towards 'creating infrastructure for and promoting public awareness of zero emission vehicles,' the court filing showed.
The huge settlement, which still needs to be approved by a federal judge in San Francisco, could affect some 480,000 owners of Volkswagens and Audis with 2.0-liter diesel engines.
Volkswagen agreed to buy back the emissions-cheating vehicles at their market prices before the scandal broke.
For qualifying Jetta Sedans, owners can receive $12,475, while some Audi models will fetch more than $44,000.
The owners also have the option of letting Volkswagen modify the cars to meet US pollution standards.
In either case, the owners would also get a cash settlement ranging from $5,100 to $10,000 depending on the vehicle.
While the deal only covers a small portion of the 11million cars around the world that have been fitted with the cheating software, law professor David Uhlmann told the NYTimes it was a 'remarkable deal' for VW owners in the US.
Daniel Carder conducted a $50,000 study at West Virginia University in 2012 to 2013 that produced early evidence that Volkswagen was cheating on US. vehicle emissions tests.
The study found one vehicle with 15 to 35 times the reported emissions levels, setting off a scandal that reverberated throughout the auto industry.
Volkswagen admitted in September that it had installed software in the vehicles that tricked US emissions tests into showing the cars met environmental standards.
The device switched off after testing, enabling the vehicles to spew up to 40 times the permitted amounts of nitrogen oxides.
At a press conference in December, company chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said he would not name any individuals involved, but added: 'We are talking here not about a one-off mistake but a chain of errors.'
Volkswagen has set aside $17.9 billion to cover costs from the scandal including the legal risks.
Despite the settlement, however, Volkswagen faces more troubles in the United States.
The company faces fines from US regulators that may run to tens of billions of dollars while a criminal investigation over the scandal is also pending.
Volkswagen has yet to face similar charges over its 3.0 liter diesel cars with emissions-cheating devices, in addition to lawsuits and charges in other countries around the world.
Tuesday's settlement filed with Judge Charles Breyer would settle claims from the US government as well as a large number of plaintiffs including owners, lessees, and dealers.
Volkswagen agrees to $14.7 BILLION payout over emissions-cheating cars in the US in largest-ever settlement by an auto company
Company agreed to pay $10b to compensate owners, $2.7b in fines and $2b to promote zero-emission cars
VW agreed to either fix the cars installed with cheating software, or buy them back from owners at rates before the scandal
Qualifying owners can also receive cash compensation from $5.1k to $10k
Settlement still needs to be approved by a federal judge in San Francisco
Could affect 480k owners of Volkswagens, Audis with 2.0L diesel engines
VW faces a slew of other investigations, lawsuits both in US and worldwide
By AFP and JESSICA CHIA FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 08:47 EST, 28 June 2016 | UPDATED: 13:13 EST, 28 June 2016