Ex-UAW chief pleads guilty to embezzling $1 mn in union dues


Former United Auto Workers president Gary Jones admitted to falsifying expense reports and evading taxes. (Photo: AFP)

A former president of United Auto Workers faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to embezzling more than $1 million dollars in union funds and evading taxes.

Gary Jones, 63, who served as UAW President from June 2018 until resigning last December, admitted to one count of conspiring to embezzle union dues money and conspiring to use a facility of interstate commerce to aid racketeering crimes.

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 filing false tax returns.

During a video conference, Jones admitted that while serving as the director of UAW's western region, he deliberately falsified expense reports filed with union headquarters in Detroit for personal gain.

He also said he failed to pay federal taxes on the money he illicitly diverted from the union, and collected kickbacks from another union official who was embezzling from the UAW via expense reports.

Reading from a prepared statement, Jones said he was sorry for betraying his "UAW family... wife and daughters and their families."

According to court documents, Jones admitted to conspiring with at least six other union officials to embezzle money from the UAW by concealing it in the costs of regional union conferences.

As part of the plea deal, Jones also agreed to cooperate with the government in prosecuting other union leaders and forfeit about $119,000 in union funds, a set of golf clubs and $32,377 in cash seized by the government last August.

Jones is the fourteenth defendant to be convicted in connection with the ongoing criminal investigation into corruption within the UAW and illegal payoffs to UAW officials by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives.