“Volkswagen AG’s emissions cheating spanned more than a decade and arose from deliberate efforts by dozens of employees to mislead regulators and consumers about diesel-powered vehicles,” charges a lawsuit from New York’s top law-enforcement official cited by the Wall Street Journal. According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the decision to use software to manipulate emissions tests traced back as far as 1999 when engineers at the company’s Audi luxury unit developed technology to quiet diesel vehicles. This technology, which was rolled out in 2004, made vehicles exceed European emissions standards. Schneiderman’s suit seeks up to $450 million in civil penalties. Two other states — Massachusetts and Maryland — filed similar lawsuits on Tuesday. A VW spokeswoman called Tuesday’s allegations “essentially not new,” adding the company has been addressing them in discussions with federal and state authorities.