Former UAW President Admits Guilt in Massive Embezzlement, Racketeering and Tax Evasion Scheme

June 5, 2020 Updated: June 5, 2020

Former United Auto Workers (UAW) President Gary Jones confessed to conspiring with other top officials of the storied labor organization to embezzle more than $1 million in member dues in an attempt to further racketeering and tax evasion activities, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Jones, 63, “pled guilty to one count of conspiring to embezzle UAW dues money and conspiring to use a facility of interstate commerce to aid racketeering crimes between 2010 and September 2019,” DOJ announced June 3.

“He also pled guilty to a separate count of conspiring to defraud the United States by evading the payment of taxes on embezzled funds and causing the UAW to file false tax returns during the same period of time,” the department said.

Jones led the UAW from June 2018 to November 2019. Before that he was a high-ranking official who served in multiple capacities that afforded him access to union funds. Among much else, Jones and his fellow conspirators used those funds to buy $13,000 worth of cigars for themselves, DOJ said.

“During the guilty plea hearing, Jones admitted to conspiring with at least six other high-level UAW officials in a multi-year conspiracy to embezzle money from the UAW for the personal benefit of Jones and other senior UAW officials,” the government said.

“Jones and other UAW officials concealed personal expenditures in the cost of UAW Region 5 conferences held in Palm Springs, California, Coronado, California, and Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.

“Between 2010 and 2018, Jones and other UAW officials submitted fraudulent expense forms seeking reimbursement from the UAW’s Detroit headquarters for expenditures supposedly incurred in connection with Region 5 leadership and training conferences.

“In truth, however, Jones and his co-conspirators used the conferences to conceal the hundreds of thousands of dollars in UAW funds spent on lavish entertainment and personal spending for the conspirators.

“Jones admitted that he and other senior UAW officials used the UAW money to pay for personal expenses, including golf clubs, private villas, cigars, golfing apparel, green fees at golf courses, and high-end liquor and meals costing over $750,000 in UAW funds.”

Jones faces a prison term of a maximum of 10 years and must pay a fine of $250,000. He also is required to forfeit his interests worth more than $100,000 in two union accounts, and give up any claim to the more than $32,000 in cash found in his home by federal agents in an August 2019 raid.

Jones is the 14th high-ranking UAW official to be convicted of serious crimes, including former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Vice President for Employee Relations Alphons Iacobelli (66 months in prison), former FCA Financial Analyst Jerome Durden (15 months in prison), former Director of FCA’s Employee Relations Department Michael Brown (12 months in prison), former senior UAW officials Virdell King (60 days in prison), Keith Mickens (12 months in prison), Nancy A. Johnson (12 months in prison), Monica Morgan, the widow of UAW Vice President General Holiefield (18 months in prison), former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell (15 months in prison), and former senior UAW official Michael Grimes (28 moths).

In addition, these former officials have pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing: Former UAW Vice President Joseph Ashton, former senior UAW official Jeffrey “Paycheck” Pietrzyk, former UAW Region 5 Director UAW Board member Vance Pearson, and former UAW Midwest CAP President Edward “Nick” Robinson.

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix said in a statement that “Jones’ conviction, like the convictions of so many other UAW officials in this years-long investigation, is shameful but hardly surprising.

“Far from being a situation where ‘a few bad apples spoiled the bunch,’ it has become painfully obvious that the UAW hierarchy’s culture prioritized the forced-dues funded-opulence of their limousine lifestyles over accountability to the men and women on the assembly line that union bosses claimed to represent.

“The root of this corruption was compulsion. Federal law gives union bosses the power to force workers under their so-called ‘representation’ against their will, and in states without Right to Work protections to force them to subsidize their activities or else be fired.”

The UAW endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to oppose President Donald Trump in the November election, on April 21. The union has never endorsed a GOP presidential aspirant.

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