Former UAW president pleads guilty to conspiring to embezzle union funds | Michigan Radio
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Former UAW president pleads guilty to conspiring to embezzle union funds

Sep 30, 2020

Former UAW Pres. Dennis Williams (file photo)
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Former United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams pleaded guilty to conspiring to embezzle union funds during a federal court hearing Wednesday.

As part of a plea deal, Williams will likely be sentenced to no more than two years in federal prison. He’ll be sentenced in January. 

He was accused of conspiring with others to cover up the source of cash for boozy meals, premium cigars, golf and lodging in Palm Springs, California.

Reading a prepared statement, Williams admitted he “deliberately looked away” when he accepted luxury gifts purchased with misused union funds.  

“Williams conspired with other senior UAW officials to embezzle over $1 million in union funds. He spent the embezzled funds on extravagant meals, liquor, golf, and travel for personal enrichment,” says Irene Lindow, Special Agent-in-Charge, Chicago Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate corrupt union officials who betray the union members they are entrusted to represent.”

Williams has already repaid the union $56,000 in restitution. He may be ordered to pay more.

During his statement, Dennis Williams pointed the blame for the scheme at former UAW president Gary Jones, who has also pleaded guilty to corruption charges. 

Williams is the 15th auto industry official to be convicted as part of the probe.

The investigation into the union continues.   

“Years of fraud and corruption by the UAW’s elected officials continue to be exposed through the diligent and collaborative work of law enforcement,” says Steven D’Antuono, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Detroit. “The hard-working men and women of the UAW deserve so much better.”

The latest conviction stemming from the investigation may bring the UAW a step closer to federal oversight. 

Before he concluded his statement, Williams told the federal judge he appreciates the federal investigation into corruption in the UAW, adding he hopes the process “restores the faith” in the union.

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