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Statement in Response to Department of Justice Investigation


"FCA US and the UAW were the victims of malfeasance by certain of their respective employees that held roles at the National Training Center (NTC), an independent legal entity. These egregious acts were neither known to nor sanctioned by FCA US. Upon learning of possible malfeasance in June 2015, the Company investigated the matter and, as a result, Mr. Iacobelli and Mr. Durden were promptly separated from the Company upon FCA US obtaining credible evidence of wrongdoing. The Company has also worked with the UAW to implement governance, auditing and structural reforms to improve the accountability and transparency of the NTC.

FCA US has cooperated fully with the U.S. Attorney’s office in its investigation of this matter. We remain committed to ensuring that the Company and its employees act in a manner consistent with high standards of legal compliance, ethics, integrity and quality.

The Company intends to pursue all potential legal remedies against Mr. Iacobelli and any other culpable parties. As the U.S. Attorney’s investigation is ongoing, the Company cannot comment further."
 

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Ex-Fiat Chrysler executive charged in union official payoff

A former Fiat Chrysler executive was charged Wednesday with looting a training center for blue-collar workers by giving $1.2 million through a variety of ways to a UAW leader, his wife and other senior union officials.

Al Iacobelli was indicted in an alleged conspiracy involving United Auto Workers vice president General Holiefield and Holiefield's wife, Monica Morgan. Holiefield died in 2015.


The indictment describes a multiyear scheme to reward Holiefield and Morgan with first-class travel, designer clothing and jewelry. A $262,000 mortgage on their home in suburban Detroit was paid off, according to the grand jury.

Iacobelli treated himself to more than $350,000 for a Ferrari, the government alleged.

The "indictment exposes a disturbing criminal collaboration that was ongoing for years between high ranking officials of FCA and the UAW," said David Gelios, head of the FBI in Detroit. FCA is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

In June 2015, Iacobelli suddenly departed from Fiat Chrysler with little explanation. He was the company's North American labor relations chief and head of Mexico human resources. Holiefield was responsible for negotiating with Fiat Chrysler on behalf of the UAW.

The allegations call "into question the integrity of contracts negotiated during the course of this criminal conspiracy," Gelios said.

The government said the money came from the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center in Detroit, which was created to retrain auto workers. Fiat Chrysler made annual payments of $13 million to $28 million to the center, from 2009 to 2014. Iacobelli and Holiefield were co-chairmen.

Morgan and Iacobelli are charged with conspiracy and tax crimes. Iacobelli is also charged with making illegal payments to a union official.

Morgan's lawyer, Steve Fishman, declined to comment. A message seeking comment was left for Iacobelli's lawyer.

In separate statements, Fiat Chrysler and the UAW said they were unaware of the alleged scheme while it was unfolding. The automaker said it got rid of Iacobelli and Jerome Durden, who worked in finance, after "obtaining credible evidence of wrongdoing" in 2015.

"The UAW has zero tolerance for corruption or wrongdoing of this kind at any level," said union president Dennis Williams, who called the case a "betrayal of trust."

Iacobelli landed another job — at rival General Motors as executive director of labor relations. GM spokesman Tom Wickham said he didn't know his status after the indictment.

Iacobelli is accused of enriching himself, too. The indictment said $40,000 was transferred from the training center to complete the purchase of two solid gold Mont Blanc pens. He also is accused of taking thousands more to install a pool, outdoor kitchen, spa and landscaping at his home in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

Separately, prosecutors unsealed a conspiracy charge against Durden, who handled finances at the training center. The charge was filed as criminal "information," which means that a guilty plea is expected. His lawyer declined to comment.

The government alleges that a complex web of phony charities, sham corporations and credit cards was created to divert money from the training center.

Durden reported that he, Iacobelli and others set up a liberal policy for credit cards as part of an effort to keep union officials "fat, dumb and happy," according to the indictment.

The government did not explain what Fiat Chrysler might have gained from the payments to Holiefield and his wife. Union workers there have received less lucrative contracts than workers at Ford Motor and GM. But Fiat Chrysler also has not been as profitable as its rivals.

Holiefield began his career in 1973 as a Chrysler factory worker in Detroit. He became a UAW vice president in 2006.

He took a leave of absence in 2014 after he was charged with accidentally shooting his wife while cleaning a handgun at his home. Holiefield soon retired. Less than a year later, in March 2015, he died of pancreatic cancer at age 61.

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How feds say a Fiat Chrysler company man and a union negotiator teamed up to get rich

Aug. 1, 2017

General Holiefield was a larger-than-life union negotiator with a big smile who teamed up with a sharply dressed corporate executive at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to siphon money into each other's pockets, according to a 42-page grand jury indictment unsealed last week.

Holiefield, who died in March 2015, was a polarizing figure. At about 6-foot-3, he was nearly as broad as he was tall. He could be engaging and funny. He also could be blunt — a trait that came off as dismissive for many of the UAW members who came to distrust him.

Al Iacobelli, as Fiat Chrysler's labor chief, was a high-ranking executive with a lot of power and influence who, like most corporate labor chiefs, worked hard to keep a low public profile.

Together, they formed a partnership that went beyond the negotiating table and are accused of leading what could scar the union for years to come — and, in the eyes of some workers, calls into question some of the deals cut between the company and the union.

Last week, Holiefield's wife, Monica Morgan, along with Iacobelli and a Fiat Chrysler financial analyst, were indicted for conspiring to defraud the U.S. government and violating the National Labor Relations Act. Morgan was arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court in Detroit and Iacobelli is scheduled to be arraigned today.

Related:

Friends defend UAW exec's widow in alleged $2.2M scam: 'She is not (a) gold digger'

FBI also looked into kickbacks in return for Chrysler plant jobs

Feds: Bargaining rivals stole millions from FCA; kept UAW officials 'fat, dumb and happy'

Eight additional executives and UAW leaders are mentioned but not identified in the 42-page indictment, and more charges are expected, according to people familiar with the investigation.

While there were rumors for years about Holiefield's ethics, multiple people interviewed by the Free Press were surprised that Iacobelli conspired with the union official to take money.

"The fact that a UAW vice president and a Fiat Chrysler VP were allegedly involved in this case is partly what makes it so unusual," said Gary Klotz, a corporate labor attorney.

Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, the union that negotiated with Iacobelli for Canadian autoworker contracts, said he always viewed him as a professional labor executive.

“I’ve probably known Al for 15 years. … This is right out of left field. I never would have expected it,” Dias said. “I’m in shock, to say the least. … If, in fact, the allegations are correct, then it’s a huge betrayal.”

Friends of Holiefield, who also was active in civil rights circles, describe him as warm and caring.

"The General Holiefield that I knew was a gentle giant. He was very much in tune with the needs and the concerns and the cares of the working people," said Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, who knew the former UAW VP for many years before his death in 2015. "He had a very kind and generous heart and was a very passionate person."

While Holiefield and Iacobelli were supposed to be adversaries, they also had to work with each other to forge a relationship based on trust in order to get deals done. It's a precarious relationship every labor negotiator must navigate.

"I think there is a danger for the UAW, or for any union, to get too friendly with company officials," said Arthur Wheaton, director of the labor and environmental programs at Cornell University. "The membership will vote the union leadership out if they are seen as in bed with management."

The relationship between Iacobelli and Holiefield not only crossed ethical boundaries, it crossed legal boundaries, according to a federal grand jury indictment unveiled last week. The two men devised ways.....
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Ex-UAW star charged with stealing

Ex-UAW star charged with stealing from FCA to buy designer clothes, shoes, shotgun

Aug. 18, 2017


A one-time rising star at the UAW became the fourth person today charged in a growing federal corruption probe involving Fiat Chrysler executives and union officials who allegedly stole worker-training funds to buy trips, designer clothes, a Ferrari, shot gun and $37,500 Mont Blanc pens.

Retired UAW Associate Director Virdell King, the first African-American female to be elected president of a local union in UAW-Chrysler's history, was charged in U.S. District Court today with being part of a conspiracy that involved the theft of more than $4.5 million in autoworker training funds.

King, 65, of Detroit, was charged in what is known as an "information" — a charging document that typically means the defendant is cooperating and working on a plea deal with the government.

She bought designer shoes, clothing, jewelry and luggage using credit cards that were issued through the UAW-Chrysler national Training Center, according to court documents.

And King did this, the government alleges, with the blessing of former FCA Vice President Alphons Iacobelli, who has also been charged.

"Iacobelli told senior UAW officials that they could use their NTC credit cards to make personal purchases, stating, 'if you see something you want, feel free to buy it,' " prosecutors allege in the court document.

King also is accused of making more than $40,000 in additional purchases that pampered other senior UAW officials, including a shotgun, golf equipment, luggage, concert tickets, theme part tickets and other items.

All of those purchases, the government says, were paid for with FCA funds. King's attorney, John Shea, was not immediately available for comment.

The Free Press has learned from multiple sources that the shotgun that King allegedly purchased was for Norwood Jewell, a UAW vice president, for his birthday.

The UAW has acknowledged that Jewell received a shotgun with training funds as a gift.

“In 2015 Norwood Jewell was given a gift of a shotgun that, without his knowledge, had been purchased using NTC funds. When he discovered the source of the funds in early 2016 he reimbursed the NTC for the $2,180 cost of the gun,” the UAW said in a statement. “We have thoroughly investigated the matter and concluded that Norwood Jewell did noting illegal and has acted within the UAW’s ethical practices.”

UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg declined to say whether Jewell or UAW President Dennis Williams have testified before a grand jury. He emphasized that the UAW continues to cooperate with the investigation.

People charged in the case so far include Monica Morgan, the wife of the late UAW Vice President General Holiefield, and former Fiat Chrysler Vice President Al Iacobelli of Rochester Hills, who were indicted last month on charges he unlawfully steered $1.2 million in employee-training funds to Morgan, Holiefield and others.

Also charged in the case is Jerome Durden of Rochester, a financial analyst at FCA who allegedly helped conceal the fraud. He pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and faces up to five years in prison.

Once a rising star, now she's FBI target in alleged FCA/UAW scam

Once a rising star, now she's FBI target in alleged FCA/UAW scam

The entity at the center of the financial scandal is the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center. The training center, initially established in the 1986s as the result of contract negotiations, is a tax-exempt non-profit corporation that operates separately from the UAW and Fiat Chrysler.

The organization was initially funded from money taken out of workers pay checks and is jointly managed by Fiat Chrysler and the UAW. Over time, Fiat Chrysler agreed to directly fund the training center based on the terms of new contracts. Funding ranged from $13 million to $31 million per year.

The training center was initially housed at 2211 Jefferson Avenue in Detroit but now primarily operates out of World Class Manufacturing Academy at 2500 E 9 Mile Road.

Neither the UAW nor Fiat Chrysler had full control of the entity. In fact, the structure was designed to require oversight from both as a way to prevent corruption. That structure later proved to be a hindrance for the UAW as it conducted an internal investigation.

But, according to court documents, those named in the indictment and other unnamed officials from both the union and the company worked together to steal funds intended for worker development.

In 2012, Iacobelli told Durden to obtain credit cards for Holiefield and other senior UAW officials. The credit cards were issued in the name of NTC and UAW officials were encouraged to use them for personal use.

Durden told investigators that he and Iacobelli "created a liberal spending policy" for those who had the credit cards. In one year, Holiefield purchased more than $200,000 of personal purchases on his NTC credit cards.

At one point, in 2012, Holiefield sent King shopping and she spent $1,000 on designer goods for his wife, Morgan, and another $1,000 on herself.

As early as January 2014, UAW President Bob King -- who is unrelated to Virdell King -- was conducting an internal investigation into the UAW-NTC's finances, and was asking Fiat Chrysler to produce records.

"We cannot provide the requested type of information to such people," an unidentified Fiat Chrysler employee said in an email to Iacobelli in January 2014.

In response, Iacobelli told the Fiat Chrysler employee to stall and resist the request for documents.

The UAW says it continues to cooperate with investigators.

“We are disheartened by the misconduct alleged in today’s indictment," the UAW said in an statement today. "Ms. King is no longer with the union and hasn’t been since February 2016. Based on our own internal investigation, we believe anyone who engaged in intentional misconduct is no longer employed by the UAW. We continue to cooperate with the DOJ and share information with the government.”

Coincidentally, today's charges come the same day Fiat Chrysler cancelled, for the second time, an event that was to include Jewell, as well as CEO Sergio Marchionne and other officials at the company’s Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois.

The event was to celebrate a $300 million investment at the plant and the movement of the Jeep Cherokee from Toledo to the Illinois plant.

An email from a company spokeswoman today cited “unforeseeable circumstances” as the reason that the event was canceled and said the company intends to reschedule it.

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Feds seize $350K

Feds seize $350K, second luxury pen in FCA-UAW scandal

Oct. 17, 2017

Detroit — FBI agents have seized $354,000 and rare $35,700 fountain pens during a hunt for money and assets tied to Alphons Iacobelli, the former Fiat Chrysler executive charged in a corruption scandal.

Federal court records and interviews offer insight into a search conducted in the background of a $4.5 million corruption case involving one of Detroit’s Big Three automakers and the United Auto Workers. The hunt includes upscale locales, a six-digit check and a cameo by a neighbor of Iacobelli.

The money and luxury fountain pens could help offset financial harm caused during what prosecutors labeled a years-long conspiracy. The conspiracy was headed by Iacobelli and drained millions of dollars in Fiat Chrysler money from a fund that was supposed to help train UAW blue-collar workers, prosecutors allege.

“Anything the government traces to a crime, they can seize,” said Peter Henning, a Wayne State University law professor and former federal prosecutor.

Details about the hunt emerged Tuesday, less than three months after the former Fiat Chrysler labor negotiator and Monica Morgan-Holiefield, widow of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield, were indicted by a federal grand jury. They are accused of participating in a scheme that siphoned millions of dollars in training funds earmarked for blue-collar workers.
The Montblanc pens feature 18-karat gold fittings,


The Montblanc pens feature 18-karat gold fittings, a blue sapphire embedded in the clip, a mother-of-pearl cap ringed by three diamonds and an 18-karat gold tip. (Photo: Montblanc)

Iacobelli, 58, is accused of spending more than $1 million of union funds on luxury items, including his house, pool, outdoor spa and kitchen, a Ferrari and the two limited-edition, gold Montblanc fountain pens.

Between October 2013 and September 2014, Iacobelli and others transferred more than $350,000 from the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center to buy the Ferrari, prosecutors said.

Iacobelli bought the used Ferrari from a dealership in Naples, Florida, in May 2014. The cherry red roadster had “IACOBLI” personalized plates.

Iacobelli, however, dumped the Ferrari for a $73,000 loss in September 2015 within days of prosecutors signaling his involvement in the $4.5 million corruption scandal.

Six months later, FBI agents tracked down some of the money.

Search warrant documents obtained by The Detroit News reveal that in March 2016, agents seized $354,000.

The $354,000 was a check given to the U.S. Marshals Service by the law firm Butzel Long. That’s the same firm that employs Iacobelli’s defense lawyer, David DuMouchel.

“I would expect the law firm saw what was coming and said to Iacobelli ‘You’ve got to turn this money over,’ ” Henning said. “You don’t want the government rummaging around and hunting all over.”
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Plea Deals Set for Ex-Fiat Chrysler Exec

Plea Deals Set for Ex-Fiat Chrysler Exec, Wife of Labor VP

Jan. 16, 2018


A former Fiat Chrysler executive and the widow of a former UAW leader have struck plea deals as part of a $4.5 million corruption scandal involving the Detroit Three automakers and the United Auto Workers.

Former FCA labor negotiator Alphons Iacobelli and Monica Morgan-Holiefield, the widow of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield, are expected to plead guilty to unspecified federal charges next week.

The plea deals come as federal agents have expanded the corruption investigation to include a former member of General Motors Co.’s board and the United Auto Workers training centers funded by all three Detroit automakers.

Iacobelli and Morgan-Holiefield are accused of participating in a scheme that siphoned millions of dollars in training funds earmarked for blue-collar workers. Four people have been charged in a case that raised questions about the sanctity of labor deals negotiated between the UAW and automakers.

Iacobelli sanctioned the use of training center cards by UAW leaders for personal expenses in a bid to keep senior labor leaders “fat, dumb and happy,” according to a court filing.

Lawyers for Iacobelli, 58, of Rochester Hills, and Morgan-Holiefield, 54, of Harrison Township, declined comment Tuesday.

Iacobelli is accused of spending more than $1 million of union funds on luxury items, including his house, pool, outdoor spa and kitchen, a Ferrari and the two limited-edition, gold Montblanc fountain pens.

Between October 2013 and September 2014, Iacobelli and others transferred more than $350,000 from the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center to buy the Ferrari, prosecutors said.

He was indicted alongside Morgan-Holiefield in July on eight counts, including conspiracy to violate the Labor Management Relations Act, making prohibited payments to union officials, conspiracy to defraud and subscribing false tax returns, the most severe of which carry penalties of up to five years in federal prison.

He is scheduled to plead guilty Jan. 22 in front of U.S. District Judge Paul Borman.

Morgan-Holiefield was accused of participating in a multi-year enrichment scheme that allegedly included paying off her $262,000 mortgage and $30,000 in airline tickets to cities across the U.S.

Morgan-Holiefield also was charged with using companies including Monica Morgan Photography, Wilson’s Diversified Products and a third company to hide Fiat Chrysler payments from Iacobelli and others to Holiefield — and for failing to report that income on her individual tax returns.

Some of the money and payments from Fiat Chrysler to Holiefield and Morgan-Holiefield came through the nonprofit Leave the Light on Foundation in Detroit, which was controlled by Holiefield, according to court records. Tax records indicate that the group supported youth organizations and education.

Court records say between July 2009 and May 2011, more than $150,000 was given to the foundation through the training center, including payments of more than $70,000 to Monica Morgan ........
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Ex-Fiat Chrysler Exec Pleads Guilty in Union Payoff Scheme

Jan. 22, 2018


A former Fiat Chrysler executive pleaded guilty Monday to showering more than $1.5 million in cash and gifts on high-ranking members of the United Auto Workers, admitting he turned the budget of a company-sponsored training center into a slush fund to curry favor with union officials.

Al Iacobelli said a key beneficiary was General Holiefield, a UAW vice president who was responsible for negotiating with Fiat Chrysler on behalf of the union. A $262,000 mortgage on his suburban Detroit home was paid off in 2014 with a check from the training center.

Iacobelli pleaded guilty to conspiracy and a tax crime and likely faces eight years in federal prison. He failed to report $861,000 in money taken from the training center in 2014.

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Wife of late UAW official pleads guilty

Wife of late UAW official pleads guilty in corruption probe

February 06, 2018

DETROIT

The wife of a late union official has pleaded guilty to a tax crime in a federal corruption investigation at a training center run by Fiat Chrysler and the United Auto Workers.

Monica Morgan pleaded guilty Tuesday and faces up to 27 months in prison. She owes $191,000 in restitution.

Morgan was married to General Holiefield, who was a UAW vice president before his death in 2015. Former Fiat Chrysler labor negotiator Al Iacobelli admits he spent more than $1.5 million in cash and gifts on high-ranking UAW members, including Holiefield.

A $262,000 mortgage on Holiefield's home was paid off with training center money that came from Fiat Chrysler.

Read more here: Wife of late UAW official pleads guilty in corruption probe | The News Tribune
 

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FCA/UAW scandal widens

FCA/UAW scandal widens as 5th person charged

March 13, 2018


Detroit – The UAW public corruption prosecution widened Tuesday as a former labor leader was accused of buying luggage, electronics, designer clothes and golf equipment with money that was supposed to help train blue-collar workers.

Keith Mickens, 64, of Detroit, a former senior UAW official assigned to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, is the fifth person charged in a corruption scandal that has led to four convictions. Mickens was charged in a criminal information, which means a guilty plea is expected.


He was charged in federal court with violating the Labor Management Relations Act, a five-year felony. The law prohibits employers or those working for them from paying, lending or delivering money or other valuables to officers or employees of labor organizations — and from labor leaders from accepting such items.

The charge is the latest in a conspiracy that has led to a shakeup at the highest levels of the U.S. auto industry and which raised questions about the sanctity of labor negotiations that determine pay, benefits and working conditions for thousands of workers.

The charge, like the others, is part of a scandal involving UAW training centers funded by all three Detroit automakers.

Mickens is accused of conspiring with Alphons Iacobelli, a former Fiat Chrysler labor executive, the late UAW Vice President General Holiefield and others.

The conspiracy ran from 2010 until 2015 and involved Fiat Chrysler officials giving money and valuable items to UAW officials, according to prosecutors.

Iacobelli, former Fiat Chrysler analyst Jerome Durden and others used the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center bank accounts and credit cards to hide the payments to Mickens and others, including former senior UAW official Virdell King, according to the government.

Prosecutors allege that Iacobelli and other UAW-Chrysler training center officials created a liberal spending policy to keep senior UAW leaders “fat, dumb and happy.”

In May 2011, Mickens and others arranged for Holiefield’s then-girlfriend to fly first-class from Michigan to California, according to federal court records. The trip cost more than $2,100 and was paid for with training center funds.

The date of the trip matches an allegation that first emerged last summer when prosecutors indicted Iacobelli and Holiefield’s widow, Monica Morgan-Holiefield.

Iacobelli and Morgan-Holiefield have pleaded guilty for their roles in the scandal and are awaiting sentencing in federal court.

From 2012 to 2015, Mickens, Holiefield and others continued using training center credit cards to pay for personal purchases, according to court records.

In January 2013, Mickens used his training center credit card to buy more than $1,000 worth of luggage, according to the government.

By 2014, Mickens had spent more than $6,500 in training center funds on electronics, designer clothes and golf equipment for himself and other UAW leaders, according to court records.

Durden and King also are awaiting sentencing in federal court after striking plea deals with federal prosecutors.

Durden helped transfer millions of dollars in training center funds to Holiefield, Morgan-Holiefield and Iacobelli. He faces up to 37 months in prison and is expected to cooperate with prosecutors.

King, who admitted misusing funds that were intended to train and retrain blue-collar workers, faces up to 16 months in prison and is expected to cooperate with the investigation.
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Another charge, plea deal in UAW-FCA federal corruption investigation

Another charge, plea deal in UAW-FCA federal corruption investigation

April 05, 2018



Keith Mickens accused of helping funnel away millions of dollars meant for training workers
Former Fiat Chrysler executive Al Iacobelli also has pleaded guilty
Officials have admitted to accepting thousands of dollars' worth of clothing, electronics and golf equipment


A former UAW official pleaded guilty Thursday for his role in the widening, multimillion-dollar corruption scandal involving a joint training center between the union and Fiat Chrysler.

Keith Mickens, 64, who oversaw operations of the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the Labor Relations Act as part of a plea deal with federal investigators.

The release of Mickens' plea comes a day after Michael Brown, a former FCA US employee, was charged with one count of lying to a federal grand jury about the scope of the conspiracy.


Brown is the seventh person charged with criminal involvement in the corruption scandal. Of those, Mickens is the fifth to plead guilty. The Detroit News reported that Brown, 60, was a director in Fiat Chrysler's employee relations department at the time of his testimony, but he has since left the company.

Mickens was indicted March 13 for conspiring with Alphons Iacobelli, a former Fiat Chrysler labor executive, and late UAW Vice President General Holiefield from 2010 until 2015. Also pleading guilty to using stolen funds are Holiefield's widow, Monica Morgan; Virdell King, a retired UAW associate director; and Jerome Durden, a former FCA financial analyst. Nancy Johnson, a former top aide to ex-UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell, was also charged for misusing training center funds, though she has not yet been arraigned.

Mickens faces up to 2 1/2 years in federal prison — shortened in the deal from an original 5-year maximum — after admitting Thursday to spending more than $7,000 on luggage, golf equipment and unspecified items at two Best Buy locations using training center bank accounts and credit cards.

Mickens was co-director of the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center and was on the center's Joint Activities Board.

In July 2013, Mickens secured a check for $13,500 payable to Monica Morgan Photography, according to the 28-page plea deal he signed on March 14. A few days later Morgan and Holiefield used the money to settle the remaining balance on a swimming pool at their Harrison Township home.

The plea deal also says that in January 2016, FCA offered to pay Mickens $25,000 as part of a "one-time, non-precedent setting, incentivized retirement program" on the condition that he agree in writing not to disclose information of the payment to any third parties or members of the media.

Mickens' sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 6.

In another development, federal prosecutors said Thursday that officials searched Jewell's home in Swartz Creek on Nov. 3, 2017, as first reported by Automotive News on Jan. 31. Tax records, social security information, and other personal documents were taken from his home, according to a stipulated protective order that mentions the search warrant materials.

The document mentions that Iacobelli's and Morgan's homes were searched as well.

Jewell has not been charged with a crime.
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Holiefield widow gets 18 months in auto industry corruption scandal

Holiefield widow gets 18 months in auto industry corruption scandal

July 13, 2018

Detroit — The widow of United Auto Workers Vice President General Holiefield was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison Friday for a tax crime intertwined in a widening federal investigation of the auto industry and labor movement.

Monica Morgan-Holiefield, 55, of Harrison Township, is the first person sentenced in a scandal that has led to criminal charges against seven people and reshaped the top ranks of the auto industry as FBI agents investigate all three Detroit automakers.


Wearing a funeral black dress, she stared straight ahead as U.S. District Judge Paul Borman issued the sentence that capped the downfall of an accomplished photographer who prosecutors say succumbed to greed, living a high-flying lifestyle with money flowing from a conspiracy involving Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and the UAW.

"This was not some slip-up," Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gardey told the judge. "It was a cold and calculated effort to get money for herself and her husband ... to satisfy simple greed."

The scandal has aired damning allegations about Fiat Chrysler and the UAW conspiring to violate the Labor Management Relations Act, which prohibits employers or those working for them from paying, lending or delivering money or other valuables to officers or employees of labor organizations — and makes it illegal for labor leaders to accept such items.

The sentencing Friday illustrated the gulf between prosecutors and Morgan-Holiefield's defense lawyer, Steve Fishman. He wanted her to serve a probationary sentence for a single tax crime, while the government wanted Borman to consider the underlying conduct and illegal benefits they say she enjoyed. The benefits include more than $32,000 worth of flights, a $43,300 pool and $260,000 to pay off her mortgage.

Borman said the crime was not merely a straightforward tax offense.

"The defendant failed to report the source of income from criminal activity," he said.

Morgan-Holiefield benefited "handsomely" from illegal payments from Fiat Chrysler to her late husband and used shell companies to hide the income and criminal activity, prosecutors said. The payments were part of a broader effort by Fiat Chrysler to keep UAW leaders "fat, dumb and happy" and wring concessions favoring the automaker, according to the government.

In pushing for a 27-month prison sentence, prosecutors labeled Morgan-Holiefield a fraudulent tax cheat who stole $190,000 from taxpayers to bankroll a lavish lifestyle. Her lawyer said Morgan-Holiefield should be spared prison because she has paid more than $100,000 in restitution and is unlikely to reoffend.

Morgan-Holiefield, who also was fined $25,000 and ordered to pay $190,747 in restitution, will be followed soon by five others who have struck plea deals with the federal government, including former Fiat Chrysler labor negotiator Alphons Iacobelli.

“Morgan was punished for cheating on her taxes and for helping to conceal hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal payments from FCA executives to Morgan and her husband ...," U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement. “The court’s sentence for Morgan vindicates the honest tax payers who properly report their income and pay their taxes, while sending a strong signal to those who would steal from everyone in the community through tax fraud.”

Morgan-Holiefield pleaded guilty in February to filing a false tax return and prosecutors agreed to drop a five-year conspiracy charge and other counts related to the scandal. Morgan-Holiefield admitted failing to pay $190,747 in taxes from 2011-2014.

Two dozen supporters attended the sentencing and the reception line waiting to embrace Morgan-Holiefield stretched halfway to the rear of Borman's courtroom. She left the courthouse flanked by friends and will report later to an undisclosed prison.

Borman cited her long history of community involvement in varying downward from a 24-30 month sentencing guideline range. He also noted 45 letters written by supporters and public officials, including state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, a Democrat whose district covers northwest Detroit, and media magnate Kevin Adell.

Borman declined to release the letters, which are sealed in federal court.

In asking Borman for leniency, Morgan-Holiefield's lawyer faulted the media for dragging her "through the public mud." He faulted the prosecutor for trying to penalize Morgan-Holiefield for the illegal payments, instead of just a tax crime.

"He wants you to say 'she's just as bad as her late husband, just as bad as Al Iacobelli, and you should nail her,'" Fishman told the judge.

Fishman cited the dozens of sealed letters from supporters, which prove Morgan-Holiefield has spent her life helping people.

"That counts more than people who find the Lord after finding the courtroom," Fishman said.

Gardey, the prosecutor, read the letters and was left with the impression of a savvy businesswoman, a strong-willed intelligent entrepreneur. Morgan-Holiefield flew first-class and stayed at resorts with money from Fiat Chrysler that was supposed to benefit blue-collar UAW workers, he said.

"She is someone who knew exactly what she was doing and chose to commit a crime," Gardey said.

Federal prosecutors have labeled the United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV as co-conspirators in a widening corruption scandal, an allegation at odds with claims the labor union and automaker were victimized by rogue employees.

Federal prosecutors say the union and Fiat Chrysler conspired from before 2009 through 2015 to violate the Labor Management Relations Act and the automaker enabled nepotism to flourish at a blue-collar training center.

“The misconduct by certain individuals in this case has been disturbing," UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said in a statement Friday. "Importantly, however, the wrongdoing did not involve union funds or affect our collective bargaining agreements. The UAW has taken strong measures to prevent a reoccurrence of this type of misconduct and our new leadership team continues to oversee improvements in our operations and financial controls.”

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Former Senior UAW Official Pleads Guilty

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 23, 2018
Former Senior UAW Official Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy with Fiat Chrysler Executives

The former second highest official in the UAW’s Chrysler Department pleaded guilty today to conspiring with other UAW officials and Fiat Chrysler executives to make illegal payments to union officials, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider.

Joining in the announcement were James Vanderberg, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, Timothy R. Slater, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit, Michigan office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Manny Muriel, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit, Michigan office of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, and Thomas Murray, Acting District Director, U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Nancy A. Johnson, 57, of Macomb, Michigan pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Labor Management Relations Act by accepting and arranging for illegal payments from Fiat Chrysler executives to high-level UAW officials from 2014 through 2016. After the now-deceased UAW Vice President General Holiefield retired in 2014, Johnson and other UAW officials began running the UAW’s Chrysler Department, responsible for dealing with executives at Fiat Chrysler. During the plea hearing, Johnson admitted to participating in a conspiracy that had existed at least from 2009 through 2016 whereby Fiat Chrysler executives conspired with one another, with Fiat Chrysler, with UAW officials, and with the UAW to funnel money and things of value worth tens of thousands of dollars from Fiat Chrysler to UAW officials and the UAW. The things of value funneled to UAW officials from Fiat Chrysler included personal travel, golf resort fees, lavish meals and parties, limousine services, designer clothing, designer shoes, golf equipment, electronics, and an Italian shotgun.

Johnson’s guilty plea indicated that a high-level UAW official directed other UAW officials to use money supplied from automobile manufacturing companies through joint UAW training centers to pay for travel, including travel solely for purported union business, as well as lavish meal and other entertainment costs of senior UAW officials and their friends, family, and allies. This directive was issued in order to reduce costs to the UAW budget from such expenditures because the UAW’s budget was under pressure.

Johnson’s plea also stated that In 2014, 2015, and 2016, in Palm Springs, California, high-level UAW officials used UAW funds to pay for extravagant meals, premium liquor, multi-month stays at condominiums, and multiple rounds of golf for little, if any, legitimate union-business or labor-management purposes. These expenditures were in addition to other expenses paid for by Fiat Chrysler by way of the training center.

As another part of the conspiracy, Johnson’s plea indicated that during the period 2014 through 2016, 100% of the UAW salaries of a large number of UAW officials and employees, nominally assigned to the NTC, was paid for by FCA through the NTC. FCA paid these salaries for the UAW even though senior UAW officials and FCA executives both knew that these UAW officials and employees “assigned” to the NTC spent most of their work time performing tasks for the UAW, reported to the UAW, and enforced FCA’s compliance with the collective bargaining agreement on behalf of the union and not for the benefit of FCA or the NTC.

Johnson is the seventh defendant to plead guilty in connection with the ongoing criminal investigation into illegal payoffs involving UAW officials and FCA executives. The following individuals have already pleaded guilty to their participation in the scheme: former FCA Vice President for Employee Relations Alphons Iacobelli, former FCA Financial Analyst Jerome Durden, former Director of FCA’s Employee Relations Department Michael Brown, former senior UAW officials Virdell King and Keith Mickens, and Monica Morgan, the widow of UAW Vice President General Holiefield.

“Today’s conviction of yet another senior UAW official further exposes the dishonorable scheme between UAW officials and Fiat Chrysler executives to corrupt the collective bargaining process at the expense of rank and file union members,” said United States Attorney Matthew Schneider. “The conviction reveals that part of this scheme involved the wrongful use of UAW funds for extravagant meals, entertainment, golf, and travel for little, if any, union-business purpose.”

“Nancy Johnson held a high-level position in the UAW and was entrusted to negotiate and implement contracts for the UAW union members she served. Instead, Johnson defrauded the membership by illegally obtaining items worth thousands of dollars, including jewelry, clothing, and other personal items, knowing that FCA was paying the bill. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate corrupt union officials who violate their duty to the members they represent for personal gain.” stated James Vanderberg, Special Agent-in-Charge, Chicago Region, United States Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.

“Today’s guilty plea from Nancy A. Johnson, a former senior UAW official, demonstrates the continued efforts of the FBI along with our law enforcement partners to hold those persons misusing funds, whether for personal gain or the enrichment of others, accountable for their actions," said Timothy R. Slater, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the FBI. "Her actions, depriving the rank and file UAW membership of training money, is intolerable and we remain committed to pursuing all those responsible."

“Protecting members against corruption perpetrated by their union leaders is critical to the mission of OLMS,” said Thomas Murray, acting District Director of the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) Detroit-Milwaukee District Office. “We will continue to work cooperatively with our law enforcement partners to ensure that anyone who abuses their union position for personal financial gain will be brought to justice.”

U.S. Attorney Schneider commended the outstanding work of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in conducting a comprehensive criminal investigation into labor corruption activities involving a vital sector of the local and national economy.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David A. Gardey, Erin Shaw, Charles J. Kalil II, and Adriana Dydell.
 

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Corrupt Fiat Chrysler exec gets 5.5 years in prison

Corrupt Fiat Chrysler exec gets 5.5 years in prison

Aug. 27, 2018

Detroit — Alphons Iacobelli, the former Fiat Chrysler vice president for employee relations who bought a Ferrari, bejeweled pens and a backyard pool with money siphoned during a conspiracy involving the automaker and the United Auto Workers, was sentenced to 5 ½ years in federal prison Monday.

It is the stiffest sentence issued by U.S. District Judge Paul Borman during a case that has led to seven convictions, reshaped the top ranks of the auto industry as FBI agents investigate all three Detroit automakers and raised troubling questions about the conduct of the late Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.


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Fiat Chrysler-UAW bribery scandal expected to widen

Fiat Chrysler-UAW bribery scandal expected to widen

Nov 7, 2018

Former Fiat Chrysler Financial Analyst Jerome Durden was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Wednesday for conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Durden is accused of creating false tax returns for the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, and a fake charity, the Leave the Light On Foundation, to conceal bribes from Fiat Chrysler executives to UAW executives.

The bribes were intended to result in more favorable union contracts for the automaker in 2011 and 2015.

Also sentenced Wednesday, UAW administrator Keith Mickens, for transfering more than $700,000 in bribes to UAW Vice President General Holiefield and his wife, Monica Morgan. Holiefield died in 2015 before he could be indicted. Mickens received a sentence of 12 months in prison.

Former Fiat Chrysler Director for Employee Relations Michael Brown also received a 12-month prison sentence, for attempting to conceal the conspiracy from federal investigators.

Earlier this year, former Chrysler Vice President Alphons Iacobelli was sentenced to 66 months in prison for his role in the payoffs and for submitting false tax returns. Monica Morgan was sentenced to 18 months in prison for tax fraud related to the conspiracy.

More indictments are expected in the widening scandal.

The United Auto Workers says top leaders were unaware of the bribes, and the union also maintains the bribes did not actually influence the 2011 and 2015 contracts.

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Ex-union official sentenced

Ex-union official sentenced in federal corruption probe
12/18/18 2:57 PM


DETROIT — A former United Auto Workers official convicted of accepting bribes from Fiat Chrysler executives has been sentenced to a year in prison.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says a federal judge in Detroit also ordered Nancy Johnson on Tuesday to pay a $10,000 fine. Johnson pleaded guilty in July to violating the Labor Management Relations Act.


She and others were charged in a scheme to strip millions from a Detroit worker training center financed by Fiat Chrysler. The leader, former auto executive Al Iacobelli, was sentenced in August to 5 ½ years in federal prison.

The government says Johnson spent $1,100 on a pair of shoes and $1,200 for spa services. She served on a 2015 UAW negotiating committee.

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Former United Auto Workers VP charged

Former United Auto Workers VP charged in corruption probe

March 18,2019

DETROIT — A former vice president at the United Auto Workers has been charged with conspiracy in a scheme with Fiat Chrysler to buy meals, golf and other perks with money from the automaker.

It’s the latest development in the government’s investigation of how officials at Fiat Chrysler and the UAW enriched themselves by using money set aside for a job-training center. At least seven people have pleaded guilty.

The conspiracy charge against Norwood Jewell was filed Monday as a criminal information, which means a guilty plea is likely. Defense attorney Michael Manley tells The Detroit News that Jewell and prosecutors are working toward a “fair and just resolution.”

Jewell was the highest-ranking UAW official dealing with Fiat Chrysler, from 2014 through 2016. Former Fiat Chrysler executive Al Iacobelli is serving a 5 ½-year prison sentence.
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Former UAW official pleads guilty

Former UAW official pleads guilty in U.S. corruption case

04/03/2019

A former top United Auto Workers official in charge of the union’s relations with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) pleaded guilty on Tuesday in a U.S. federal court in Detroit to misusing the automaker’s funds for lavish spending on UAW officials.

As part of a plea agreement, Norwood Jewell, who headed the UAW’s FCA department from 2014 until his retirement in January 2018, pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiring to violate the Labor Relations Management Act, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.

Jewell is the highest-ranking former UAW official charged so far in a wide-ranging investigation into illegal payoffs to UAW officials by FCA. To date, seven people linked to the union and the automaker have been sentenced in the government’s corruption investigation.

Jewell’s court appearance comes at a sensitive time for the UAW, which faces contract talks later this year with FCA, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co.

Prosecutors say FCA officials conspired to divert to UAW officials more than $4.5 million in training center funds intended to pay for training for union members.
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Former United Auto Workers official gets 15 months

Former United Auto Workers official gets 15 months in labor corruption case

August 05, 2019

A federal judge in Detroit on Monday sentenced the former United Auto Workers union vice president in charge of relations with Fiat Chrysler to 15 months in federal prison for misusing funds intended for worker training to pay for luxury travel, golf, liquor and parties for himself and other union officials.

Norwood Jewell, 61, who led the UAW's national contract negotiations with Fiat Chrysler in 2015, is the highest ranking UAW official to be sentenced in connection with a wide-ranging federal investigation of corruption within the union that represents U.S. factory workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV , General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co .


Jewell pleaded guilty in April to a single charge of violating the Labor Relations Management Act. At the time, prosecutors proposed a prison sentence of 12 to 18 months. U.S. District Judge Paul Borman rejected Jewell's request to avoid prison and serve his sentence under house arrest.

"He betrayed his position," Borman said from the bench.

Jewell is the eighth former UAW or Fiat Chrysler official sentenced as part of the federal criminal investigation of UAW finances. Federal prosecutors are continuing to investigate the misuse of company and union funds at the Detroit automakers.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Mike Manley, during a meeting with reporters last week, declined to discuss whether the company is in talks with federal authorities or whether he has been interviewed by investigators.

Federal prosecutors have said Fiat Chrysler officials conspired in the misuse of $4.5 million in training center funds.

Fiat Chrysler's former vice president of labor relations, Alphons Iacobelli, pleaded guilty in January 2018 to charges of violating the Labor Management Relations Act and filing false tax returns. Prosecutors charged Iacobelli with making hundreds of thousands of dollars in improper payments to charities controlled by UAW officials, and agreeing to pay off the mortgage of a now-deceased UAW vice president, General Holiefield.

Prosecutors said Jewell accepted over $90,000 in illegal payments from Fiat Chrysler for his own benefit and to pay for travel, golf outings, parties and other entertainment for senior UAW leaders. "The parties included thousands of dollars in Fiat Chrysler money spent on 20 boxes of cigars, ultra-premium liquor, personalized bottles of wine, and women paid to light the cigars of senior UAW leaders," federal prosecutors said in a statement on Monday.

Jewell, in a statement to the court, portrayed himself as a leader betrayed by his staff, and expressed regret for being sloppy in accounting for expenses.

However, prosecutor David Gardey said Jewell and other senior UAW officials enjoyed a "high-flying lifestyle" of "premium liquor and fine steaks" on company and union money. Fiat Chrysler, Gardey told the court, wanted UAW officials to be "fat, dumb and happy."

Mike Booth, president of UAW local 961, which represents a Fiat Chrysler axle plant in Marysville, Michigan, told Borman that Jewell and other UAW leaders who accepted company favors betrayed union members.

"This is not a victimless crime," Booth said.

The UAW, in a statement issued on Monday after the sentencing, said the union's new leadership "is determined to earn back our members’ trust" and "will draw the line on more concessions to an auto industry flush in profits.”

Local 961 has gone to court to block the transfer of the axle plant to a Fiat Chrysler supplier and has accused UAW officials of corruptly acquiescing to the sale.

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UAW abolishes regional office plagued by embezzlement




By The Associated Press


Posted Dec 6, 2019 at 12:03 PM






DETROIT — A United Auto Workers regional office racked by embezzlement allegations is being abolished and combined into two neighboring regions.
UAW Region 5 in St. Louis will be merged into regional offices in Lebanon, Tennessee, and Lincolnshire, Illinois, the union said in a statement Friday.
President Rory Gamble said in the statement the two regions that will take over Region 5 have been managed prudently.
The St. Louis region covers 17 states from Missouri to Hawaii.
The union will keep an office in St. Louis because of the high number of members it has in the area, spokesman Brian Rothenberg said. The UAW is still working on how to divide up Region 5 between the other two offices, he said.
Top union officials have been accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars through Region 5 conferences that were held in Palm Springs, California. Vance Pearson, the former head of Region 5, has been charged in the case. Former UAW President Gary Jones was director of the region before Pearson. Federal agents raided Jones’ Detroit-area home last summer, but he has not been charged in the case. Both men have resigned from the union.
More than $600,000 in UAW money paid to Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel was used to pay debts by union officials at area businesses, including restaurants, a golf resort, cigar shop and rental properties, between 2014 and 2017, the government alleged in court records.

Investigators uncovered a receipt for a New Year’s Eve 2016 meal totaling more than $6,000, including four bottles of champagne for $1,760. They said there was evidence of a “culture of alcohol” in the senior ranks.
Jones’ lawyer has said that all expenses were submitted in detail and were not questioned by UAW accounting department or the executive board.


The embezzlement allegations are part of a widening federal probe into corruption at the union. Allegations also include bribery with money paid from the Fiat Chrysler-UAW joint training center.
Ten people with ties to the UAW have been charged in the investigation. Eight have pleaded guilty, including two former vice presidents and the widow of another. Separately, three people who worked at Fiat Chrysler have been convicted.

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Retired UAW vice president is the latest to plead guilty





December 7, 2019


DETROIT — (AP) — A retired vice president at the United Auto Workers pleaded guilty Wednesday to corruption charges, admitting he received a $250,000 kickback after arranging a contract for 58,000 watches.

Joe Ashton led the union's General Motors department until July 2014 and also had a seat on the automaker's board.

Ten people with ties to the UAW have been charged in the corruption investigation; eight have pleaded guilty, including the widow of a union vice president. Separately, three people who worked at Fiat Chrysler have been convicted.


Ashton, 71, of Ocean View, New Jersey, appeared in Detroit federal court. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and faces roughly three years in prison when he's sentenced on March 3.

Ashton declined to comment. He awarded a $3.9 million contract from the UAW-GM training center for thousands of watches that remain in storage. The government said they were never given to union members.

“He has asked me to apologize to all the members of the UAW. Good people make really bad decisions. ... He fully accepts responsibility," defense attorney Jerry Ballarotto told reporters.

Ballarotto said he'll offer an explanation — “not an excuse" — at sentencing.

In a statement, the UAW said Ashton's crimes are “against everything we stand for."

While negotiating new contracts with GM, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler, the UAW has been in a crisis for months because of the corruption investigation. Gary Jones, whose house was raided by federal agents in August, recently quit as president. He hasn't been charged.

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