Wednesday, 18 August 2021 17:18

FCA to Pay $30M Fine for Illegal Payments to UAW Officials


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FCA US LLC was sentenced Aug. 17 in federal court in Detroit after pleading guilty in March to conspiracy to violate the Labor Management Relations Act, also known as the Taft-Hartley Act, by making more than $3.5 million in illegal payments to officers of the UAW between 2009 and 2016. 

FCA’s sentence requires payment of a $30 million fine, triple the base amount provided for the offense by sentencing guidelines. 


In addition, FCA will serve a three-year term of probation and be subject to three years of oversight by Frances McLeod, an independent corporate compliance monitor selected by the U.S. McLeod is a founding partner of Forensic Risk Alliance and head of its U.S. offices, and recently served as the independent compliance monitor for IAV GmbH, a German company recently prosecuted in connection with the Volkswagen emissions conspiracy.


FCA is one of the big three American automobile manufacturers and the North American operating subsidiary of Stellantis.


The illegal payments to UAW officials took various forms, including extravagant meals, rounds of golf, lavish parties for the UAW International Executive Board, an Italian-made shotgun, clothing, designer shoes and other personal items paid for with credit cards issued by the joint training center. 


FCA executives also paid off the $262,000 home mortgage of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield. Holiefield and his widow also received hundreds of thousands of dollars funneled through Holiefield’s purported charitable organization, as well as sham companies under Holiefield’s control that had lucrative contracts with the training center. 


In many instances, FCA passed the illegal payments through the UAW-Chrysler Skill Development & Training Program d/b/a the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center (NTC). Ostensibly, the NTC was supposed to provide training and health and safety protections for FCA workers. 


The sentencing was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Saima S. Mohsin.


“The sentencing of FCA marks a significant milestone in this historic case,” said Mohsin. “Congress enacted the Taft-Hartley Act to ensure...

...that union members could have confidence in their union leaders. FCA violated these principles through corruption. By lavishing millions of dollars in gifts and cash upon UAW leaders, the FCA sought to improve its relationship with UAW leaders, and FCA thereby harmed the hardworking men and women of the UAW.


"A compliance monitor and a significant fine are important steps towards ending this type of systemic corruption and deterring future corporate malfeasance.”


Thus far, as part of this investigation of illegal payments by FCA to UAW officials, as well as fraud and embezzlement by other UAW officers, 14 individuals have been convicted of federal crimes, including three former FCA executives:


  • Former FCA Vice President for Employee Relations Alphons Iacobelli (66 months in prison)
  • Former FCA Financial Analyst Jerome Durden (15 months in prison)
  • Former Director of FCA’s Employee Relations Department Michael Brown (12 months in prison)
  • Former UAW presidents Dennis Williams (21 months in prison) and Gary Jones (28 months in prison)
  • Former UAW vice presidents Norwood Jewell (15 months in prison) and Joseph Ashton (30 months in prison)
  • Former UAW Region 5 Director and UAW board member Vance Pearson (12 months in prison)
  • Former UAW Midwest CAP President Edward “Nick” Robinson (12 months in prison)
  • Former senior UAW officials Virdell King (60 days in prison), Keith Mickens (12 months in prison), Nancy A. Johnson (12 months in prison), Michael Grimes (28 months in prison) and Monica Morgan, widow of Holiefield (18 months in prison). Holiefield died in 2015. 


Mohsin commended the outstanding work of the IRS-Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Department of Labor–Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and the FBI in conducting a comprehensive criminal investigation into labor corruption activities involving a vital sector of the local and national economy.


Source: U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of Michigan


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