Holiefield’s widow pleads guilty to 1 count in UAW-FCA corruption case

Holiefield’s widow pleads guilty to 1 count in UAW-FCA corruption case

Monica Morgan, right, faces a maximum of 27 months in prison. Photo credit: KATIE BUDA

As part of a plea deal with federal officials, Monica Morgan, the widow of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield, pleaded guilty to one count of subscribing a false tax return.
Michael Wayland Twitter Facebook Jackie Charniga
Automotive News | February 6, 2018 – 4:45 pm EST

DETROIT — The last of four people charged in connection to the UAW-Fiat Chrysler Automobiles corruption scandal pleaded guilty Tuesday to one of five charges.

As part of a plea deal with federal officials, Monica Morgan, the widow of former UAW Vice President General Holiefield, pleaded guilty to one count of subscribing a false tax return.

Sentencing was scheduled for June 4. Morgan faces a maximum of 27 months in prison but the government is arguing for a higher sentencing range. She also will be required to pay restitution of $190,747 to the U.S. Treasury Department for unpaid tax obligations from 2011-14, according to the plea deal.

The deal, which was signed in December, does not mandate Morgan cooperate with investigators.

Prosecutors contend that FCA employees and executives, including former FCA US labor relations chief Alphons Iacobelli, paid union representatives through charities and other methods, including training-center credit cards, to influence union business, including collective bargaining negotiations in 2011 and 2015.

Prosecutors say the money was siphoned through the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, which is funded by FCA and jointly operated with the union.

Lawyer responds

Steve Fishman, Morgan’s attorney, said the deal shows Morgan “has absolutely nothing to do” with the alleged crimes of her deceased husband.

“It has absolutely nothing to do with Monica Morgan,” he told reporters after the hearing. “If General was here, he’d have a hell of a lot to answer for.”

Morgan, 54, was indicted on four other charges, including conspiracy to violate the U.S. Labor Relations Act. She was charged with using Monica Morgan Photography, Wilson’s Diversified Products and Holiefield’s Leave the Light On Foundation to conceal payments made by Iacobelli and others for personal gain.

The additional charges, as part of the plea deal, will be dropped upon her sentencing.

Morgan also agreed that $102,984.32 seized from her bank account in May 2016 will be used toward restitution, according to the deal.

In addition to Morgan and Iacobelli, charges were brought against retired UAW Associate Director Virdell King and former FCA financial analyst Jerome Durden. Both pleaded guilty in August as part of separate plea deals with federal officials; King to one felony count of conspiracy to violate the Labor Management Relations Act, and Durden to creating false tax returns to hide payments to Holiefield, Iacobelli and other beneficiaries.

Iacobelli pleaded guilty to two of seven charges on Jan. 22, for conspiring to violate the Labor Management Relations Act and for subscribing a false tax return.

Charges could be forthcoming for other unnamed individuals identified in court documents in connection to the multi-year investigation. However, federal officials have not formally named or charged anyone else.

UAW statement

Following the plea hearing, the UAW released a statement saying the “union has been shocked and saddened by the crimes uncovered by this investigation.”

“We have taken several steps to ensure the type of wrongdoing uncovered cannot be repeated, including seeing to it that more stringent procedures are followed for awarding and reviewing vendor contracts,” the union said.

The UAW reiterated the training center funds came from the automaker and not membership dues. It also once again contested federal officials’ allegations that the payments influenced collective bargaining negotiations in 2011 and 2015.

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