Former UAW Associate Director Virdell King has been charged by the FBI for benefiting from an alleged conspiracy to defraud the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center. Now retired, Mrs. King is the fourth person against whom charges have been brought as part of an ongoing investigation into a conspiracy that prosecutors say redirected $4.5 million in funds from the Training Center. She is accused of accepting illegal payments from Fiat Chrysler between 2011 and 2015, according to The Detroit News.
Mrs. King allegedly accepted designer shoes, clothing, jewelry, and other personal items worth thousands of dollars, paid for by UAW-Chrysler Training Center credit cards. She also made more than $40k-worth of purchases herself at the direction of fellow UAW officials, using Training Center funds, prosecutors say. Those purchases included golf equipment, luggage, concert and theme park tickets, and in one case, a $2,180 shotgun bought as a birthday gift for UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell.
She was reportedly told to purchase the shotgun by Jewell’s top administrative assistant, Nancy Johnson. The UAW says that Jewell was unaware the shotgun was bought with Training Center funds.
Autotrader Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs said of the ongoing investigation: “Clearly something needs to give in terms of financial oversight because how this went on is quite stunning. And if I were a union member I would be extremely unhappy that funds are being improperly used.”
Former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executive Alphons Iacobelli has also been charged in the investigation, along with former FCA Financial Analyst Jerome Durden, and Monica Morgan-Holiefield, the wife of late UAW Vice President General Holiefield. Mr. Durden has struck a plea deal with prosecutors, while Mr. Iacobelli and Mrs. Morgan-Holiefield are scheduled to stand trial September 25th. If found guilty, Iacobelli and Morgan-Holiefield could face up to 5 years in federal prison and risk losing their homes to the government, says The Detroit News.