Dennis Williams, the former President of the United Auto Workers (UAW), has been charged with one count of conspiracy to embezzle union funds, according to U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider of the Eastern District of Michigan.
Williams served as Secretary-Treasurer of UAW from June 2010 to June 2014 and president between June 2014 and June 2018. He handed the leadership of the UAW to Gary Jones.
U.S. Attorney Schneider alleged that Williams and six other senior UAW officials including Jones colluded to steal money from the union for their personal benefits.
They allegedly concealed hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenditures during UAW conferences held in Palm Springs, California, Coronado, California, and Missouri. Williams together with Jones and other senior union officials allegedly submitted fraudulent expense forms and seek reimbursements from the UAW’s headquarters in Detroit. They claimed to have incurred those expenses in connection with UAW leadership and training.
In reality, Williams and his co-conspirators spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lavish entertainment and other personal expenses such as paying for long stays at private villas in Palm Springs, cigars, golfing apparel, green fees at golf courses high-end liquors, and expensive meals.
Williams is facing a maximum prison sentence of five years and a penalty of up to $250,000.
Williams, other UAW officials enriched themselves at the expense of union members
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Schneider said, “The charges today are further steps forward in our relentless effort to ensure that the over 400,000 men and women of the UAW have honest and ethical leadership. The UAW’s members deserve leaders dedicated to serving the members and their families, not serving themselves.”
On the other hand, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Labor-Management Standards District Director Thomas Murray commented that Williams “misused his position of trust to enrich himself and other officers within the UAW at the expense of…hardworking members.”
Williams is expected to plead guilty. Jones and other UAW senior officials, charged in connection with the ongoing criminal investigation into corruption within the UAW or relating to illegal payoffs to UAW officials by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) executives, already admitted their wrongdoing.
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