Federal prosecutors have charged Gary Jones, the former President of the United Auto Workers, with three felonies, including embezzlement.
Jones is the highest-ranking official charged so far in an FBI investigation of corruption in the union.
Jones is accused of spending embezzled union funds on private villas, golf clubs and green fees, liquor, and cigars. He's also accused of submitting false receipts and vouchers to the UAW in order to make the thefts appear legitimate. He could face up to five years in prison.
Jones is the 14th person charged so far in the FBI investigation.
U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider acknowledged at a press conference about the charges against Jones that filing a RICO suit against the union and seeking to place it in the control of the federal government has not been ruled out. "That's always an option," he said. "That's one of the options, and we've said that from the very beginning, whether or not the federal oversight of the UAW is necessary."
Schneider said other charges are forthcoming.
"We are not done," he said. "We are another step closer to ridding the UAW of its corrupt leadership and returning the UAW to the hardworking men and women of the UAW."
One of those likely to be charged in the future is Dennis Williams, who ran the union before Jones. The FBI raided his home in August 2019.
The UAW issued a statement on Thursday, which referred to Jones as merely a "former UAW member."
All UAW members including the UAW leadership are and should be angry about the charges of former UAW member Gary Jones and his alleged actions. This is a violation of trust, a violation of the sacred management of union dues, and goes against everything we believe in as a Union.
As we continue to move forward under the leadership of President Rory Gamble and the IEB, we are continuing to implement the critical reforms necessary to ensure our union is free from the type of corrosive corruption we have witnessed from those who betrayed our trust.
The UAW statement also included a denunciation of stories from the Detroit News which cited sources that say current UAW President, Rory Gamble, is also implicated in the corruption.
The Detroit News continues to report unsubstantiated innuendo -- purportedly based on unnamed, unidentified, and anonymous “sources.” The federal government has never said or even suggested that President Gamble is a target of its investigation. To be clear: No one referred to in the Gary Jones charges, whether by name or by alias, is a current UAW official, Board member, or employee.