Former president of the United Automobile Workers union (UAW) Gary Jones pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiring with at least six other high-ranking UAW officials to embezzle over $1 million in union funds. He also pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the US by evading tax payment on the embezzled funds, as well as to causing the UAW to file false tax returns.
The UAW represents more than 400,000 active members and 580,000 retired members in more than 600 local unions throughout the US. Jones served as the director of UAW Region 5 from October 2012 through June 2018. From June 2018 through November 2019, he served as president of the UAW.
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Jones admitted to conspiring with other officials to embezzle money from the UAW. These funds, drawn from dues money, were spent on “lavish entertainment” and personal expenses, including private clubs, golfing apparel and high-end liquor. Jones and the other officials concealed this spending in the cost of conferences held in California and Missouri. Between 2010 and 2018, they also submitted false expense forms for costs supposedly incurred from leadership and training conferences.
Jones faces 10 years maximum in prison and a fine up to $250,000. However, under terms of a plea agreement between Jones and the government, he is facing an advisory sentencing guideline range of 46 to 57 months in prison.
Jones is the fourteenth defendant to be convicted in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation into corruption within the UAW.