Former Auto Exec Gets 5 Years for Union Scandal

DETROIT (CN) – A federal judge sentenced Fiat Chrysler’s former vice president for employee relations to 5 ½ years in prison Monday for his role in a conspiracy to shower United Auto Workers union leaders with gifts and cash.

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

Last year, prosecutors accused Alphons Iacobelli, 59, of offering designer clothing, jewelry, furniture, and mortgage payments to labor leaders to sweeten contract negotiations between the automaker and the union. Monday’s sentence follows Iacobelli’s guilty plea in January to conspiracy and tax crimes.

Iacobelli made the payments to influence former UAW executive General Holiefield, who died in March 2015, and other union leaders. Prosecutors say Iacobelli’s gifts to Holiefield included a $262,000 payment for the mortgage on Holiefield and his wife’s home in Harrison, Michigan.

The Justice Department filed indictments against Holiefield’s wife, Monica Morgan, and Iacobelli, who admitted to making $1.5 million in illegal payments.  Prosecutors have netted seven convictions in the case, but Iacobelli is the highest-ranking executive so far.

Iacobelli admitted that he had diverted money from the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, which he co-chaired with Holiefield. The payoffs came from a budget meant to benefit Chrysler employees, prosecutors said.

U.S. District Judge Paul Borman sentenced Iacobelli to 66 months in prison. He was charged with violating the Labor Management Relations Act and subscribing a false tax return.

Iacobelli apologized in court Monday as he kept his head bowed and hands together, The Detroit News reports.

“I fully accept responsibility,” Iacobelli said. “I am extremely sorry for what I did.”

The FBI is also investigating General Motors and Ford.

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