DETROIT – He conspired to steal up to $1.5 million in union dues, and the money he diverted was spent on golf clubs, vacation homes, booze and lavish meals, leading to a culture of corruption within the United Auto Workers union got promoted.
Now former UAW president Gary Jones will have to spend 28 months in federal prison and pay thousands of dollars for his crimes.
After pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy last year, 64-year-old Jones was sentenced on Thursday by US District Judge Paul Borman in Detroit. Boorman ordered that Jones surrender his term in 90 days and recommended a federal prison in Texas so that he could be closer to his wife who now lives there.
Before sentencing, Jones died in the courtroom as he apologized to his family and union members for his actions. “I failed them. I failed the UAW that elected me as president,” he told Borman. “All I can say is that I am sorry I let them down, I let my family down “
Federal sentencing guidelines sentenced Jones to between 46 and 57 months in prison because of his high position in the Union. But prosecutors asked for 28 months because Jones accepted responsibility and cooperated as the government went after his accomplices in a broader investigation of union corruption.
“He was willing to assist in any way he could,” Assistant US Attorney David Garde told the court. “And that was true.”
Garde said that in many ways, Jones is a good man who worked in a “culture of corruption”, following a horde of other union leaders who thought he “deserved to have us.” He said Jones helped prosecute Dennis Williams, who was union president prior to Jones.
But Garde also said that Jones’ crimes were serious and that it terrified the union and destroyed members’ confidence in its leaders. He recommended that Borman issue a sentence letting the labor unions know that this behavior would not be tolerated.
Eleven union officials and the wife of a late official have pleaded guilty in corruption investigations since 2017, although not all of the crimes were linked. The first wave of punishment, which involved some Fiat Chrysler employees, involved money from the Fiat Chrysler-UAW training center in Detroit.
Garde wrote in a sentencing memo, millions of union dues would fund court-appointed monitors, and the UAW had to pay significant attorney’s fees for the officers who were charged.
Jones will pay $550,000 to the union and $42,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. But his liability may be less based on the amount paid by the other defendants, including Williams.
He would also have to forfeit more than $151,000, including money in two bank accounts, as well as a set of golf clubs confiscated by officials at the Missouri regional office, where Jones was a director before becoming president.
Garde told Bormann that Jones would help with other matters as the UAV investigation continues, as well as helping the union oversee internal disciplinary matters. He said it is possible that prosecutors will return to court and ask Borman to recognize that association, possibly with a lighter sentence.
Jones was president from June 2018 to November 2019, when he stepped down as the investigation intensified.
Prosecutors allege they allowed senior UAW leaders and their families to vacation for months at a time at the villa in Palm Springs, California, at the union’s expense. He spent union money on lavish meals, and over $60,000 on cigars, entertainment, wine, and rounds of golf.
During the planning, UAW leaders took $100,000 worth of clothing, golf equipment and other items. He also took $45,000 in cash for his own use.
“The exaggeration was jaw-dropping,” Garde wrote in the memo.
The memo said Jones spent it on other senior officials because of his “desire to obtain and retain power” in the union.
Jones’ attorney, J.J. of New York. Bruce Maffeo wrote that Jones should receive a lesser sentence because of his association, and because most of the crimes he pleaded guilty to occurred while he was a regional director in St. Louis before he was elected UAW president. .
His crimes were continued by other union officials, including former President Dennis Williams, wrote Mafio. In May, Williams was sentenced to 21 months in prison under the same embezzlement scheme.