Two former high-level Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives and an ex-senior UAW official were sentenced to prison Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit for a bribery scheme.
Jerome Durden of Rochester, a 62-year-old former financial analyst for the autromaker, gets 15 months in prison. He swas controller of the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center from 2008-15, according to a federal press release.
According to authorities, Durden created false tax returns on behalf of the National Training Center and a "charitable" organization associated with former UAW Vice President General Holiefield known as the Leave the Light On Foundation to conceal over $1.5 million in illegal payments by Fiat Chrysler to senior UAW officials through the National Training Center and the foundation.
The bribes, authorities says, influenced the labor-management relationship between Fiat Chrysler and the union.
The senior UAW officials who were bribed include the Holiefield, who has died, Assistant Director Virdell King, Keith Mickens, Nancy A. Johnson, who served as the second in command of the UAW’s Chrysler Department from July 2014 through 2016, and others.
Illegal payments included paying off the mortgage on Holiefield’s home, first-class air travel, designer clothes, furniture, jewelry and custom watches.
Keith Mickens, 64, of Clarkston, was sentenced to 12 months in prison. From 2010-14, Mickens was one of the senior UAW officials responsible for administering collective bargaining agreements on behalf of tens of thousands of UAW members employed by FCA. Mickens served as a member of the UAW’s National Negotiating Committee in 2011 and helped negotiate agreements between the UAW and FCA. He also served as the co-Director of the National Training Center.
Mickens admitted helping transfer over $700,000 from FCA to former Holiefield using two companies that he controlled with Monica Morgan, who he later married. FCA executives concealed the illegal payments using the bank account of the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center.
Mickens said he and other senior UAW officials also accepted thousands of dollars’ worth of clothing, electronics, golf equipment, and other personal items that were paid for by FCA.
Michael Brown, 60, of West Bloomfield,was sentenced to 12 months in prison. Between 2009 and 2016, Brown worked a the Director for Employee Relations at Fiat Chrysler.
Authorities alleged that Brown misled the grand jury to conceal the existence of the conspiracy to bribe UAW officials by FCA, FCA executives acting in the interest of FCA, the UAW, and UAW officials.
Two other defendants were sentenced in the ongoing criminal investigation:.
- On July 13, Monica Morgan received 18 months in prison and was ordered to pay $190,747 in restitution for tax fraud in connection with illegal payments to her late husband.
- On Aug. 27, ex-Fiat Chrysler executive Alphons Iacobellii drew 66 months in prison and was ordered to pay $835,523 for his involvement in the conspiracy and tax fraud.
“The Court’s sentences today are further strides forward in our effort to root out corruption in the leadership of the UAW because of illegal payments by Fiat Chrysler and its executives,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement. “We want the hard working men and women of the union to know that federal law enforcement will uncover, prosecute, and punish any effort to undermine their collective bargaining process.”