Gary Jones, the former president of the United Auto Workers, was charged on Thursday by federal prosecutors with corruption in an alleged scheme to embezzle more than $1 million in union funds. Jones is among 14 people who have been charged in the federal probe, nine of whom have reportedly pleaded guilty since 2017. Dozens have reportedly been convicted, including former UAW aide Mike Grimes and former Vice President Joe Ashton. Jones and other top UAW officials created master accounts that were intended to reserve funds for conference and meeting expenses, but instead used them to pay for “private villas, high-end liquor and meal expenses, golfing apparel, golf clubs and green fees,” according to court records. Jones reportedly used a sum of the money to buy more than $13,000 on cigars from an Arizona shop in 2015. “This is a violation of trust, a violation of the sacred management of union dues, and goes against everything we believe in as a union,” the UAW said in a statement, referring to the allegations against Jones.
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