Former United Auto Workers President Gary Jones was charged with embezzlement, racketeering, and tax evasion Thursday in a massive FBI probe that has brought down several of the union’s top leaders.
“The charges today demonstrate our continuing progress towards restoring honest leadership for the over 400,000 men and women of the UAW,” United States Attorney Matthew Schneider said Thursday when announcing the charges. “The union’s leaders must be dedicated to serving their members and not serving themselves.”
According to Schneider’s office, Jones was charged with conspiring with at least six other senior UAW officials in a multiyear conspiracy to embezzle union dues for his personal benefit. Between 2010 and 2018, Jones and other high-ranking officials submitted fraudulent expense forms seeking reimbursement from the union’s Detroit headquarters.
Jones and his co-conspirators used UAW conferences to conceal “hundreds of thousands of dollars in UAW funds spent on lavish entertainment and personal spending.” The criminal complaint states that Jones and other officials used union 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.”
In one case, Jones spent $13,000 on cigars in just one year for the use of high-level UAW officials.
He was also charged with assisting in a conspiracy to embezzle funds from the UAW’s Midwest Community Action Program and accepted $60,000 in cash from a co-conspirator. A final charge states that Jones conspired with other officials to defraud the United States by impeding the IRS in the collection of taxes and filing false tax returns.
Schneider’s office said Jones faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for his alleged crimes.
Jones is the 14th defendant to be charged in connection with the FBI’s criminal investigation of the UAW UAW. The 13 other officials charged in the case have already pleaded guilty.
“While union corruption is not new, each instance slowly undermines the trust members have in their organization. In order for unions to be effective, their members must trust their leadership to do what is best for the entire union and not just for themselves. In this case, that trust has been broken over and over again,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven D’Antuono. “While today represents a significant development in this investigation, it does not represent its end. Our work on this case will continue until we are satisfied that everyone who should answer for these crimes is brought to justice.”
Jones resigned his union membership in December shortly after stepping down as president of the UAW. The FBI and IRS raided his family home in August and discovered wads of cash in his garage totaling $32,000.
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