Federal prosecutors have charged former United Auto Workers President Gary Jones with corruption following a months-long investigation into the ex-union leader.
The FBI alleges Jones, along with a number of high-ranking UAW aides, conspired to embezzle over $1 million in union dues and other union funds for their own personal gain. Jones and his conspirators blew the money on luxury goods including high-end dinners, alcohol, cigars, golf outings, golf equipment and luxury vacation villas.
According to the Associated Press, Jones was charged with conspiring to embezzle, to aid racketeering and to defraud the government. Jones is also expected to plead guilty to the charges based on the way the FBI had labeled the case document.
Jones’ arrest seemed imminent after the FBI raided his Michigan home last summer in search of evidence. Among the items seized in the raid were golf clubs and $30,000 in cash.
The FBI began looking into the UAW after it was discovered that a number of FCA UAW officials had embezzled money through the FCA-UAW job training center. The investigation eventually evolved into an overall corruption investigation into the UAW, revealing a pattern of theft, embezzlement and other crimes among the union’s top ranks. A total of thirteen union officials have been convicted in the investigation.
Jones allegedly opened separate bank accounts for allotting funds for union conferences, but he and other high-ranking union members simply used the money on luxury goods and travel. This scheme started as far back as ten years ago, well before Jones took up the post as UAW president in June of 2018.
Rory Gamble replaced Jones as UAW president after he stepped down in the fall. Gamble previously said he is hoping to enact reform within the union and acknowledged that its leadership has consisted of a “whole lot of bad actors.” In January, reports surfaced that Gamble was under investigation for potentially running a kickback scheme involving UAW-branded merchandise, though the UAW denied the allegations. The investigation into Gamble is ongoing.
U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider told AP this week that more UAW employees will likely be targeted as part of the continuing investigation.
“We are not done and I can’t predict when we will be done,” he said.