rollerball refill mont blanc UAW criminal case as probe spreads
UPDATED: 1/23/18 9:47 am ET adds plea agreement
DETROIT Former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles labor relations chief Alphons Iacobelli pleaded guilty Monday to two charges related to a conspiracy to siphon millions from an employee training fund, overturning the not guilty plea entered on his behalf in August. District Judge Paul Borman in Detroit.
Sentencing was set for May 29. Iacobelli faces a statutory maximum of eight years in prison, and prosecutors said he will be required to repay $835,000.
Iacobelli is at the center of an ever expanding federal probe into executives at the automaker and the UAW for allegedly pulling funds slated for employees to line their own pockets.
The probe since has spread to the UAW training centers for Ford Motor Co. and General Motors. automakers. GM is conducting an internal investigation into the matter.
Federal investigators also met with FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne more than a year ago, according to reports. automakers. A lawyer for Iacobelli declined to comment on Monday, Reuters reported.
If Iacobelli chooses to cooperate with prosecutors, it’s unclear how effective his testimony would be, according to Peter Henning, a Wayne State University law professor and former federal prosecutor.
“It will depend on whether he has agreed to cooperate, and also what information he could provide. With a defendant at his level, what interactions did he have with senior executives is an open question,” he told Automotive News. “He has admitted he’s engaged in fraud. That means his testimony wouldn’t be all that trustworthy.
Notable among Iacobelli’s alleged purchases with money taken from the UAW Chrysler National Training Center are a 2013 Ferrari 458 Spider and two solid gold Mont Blanc pens, each valued at $37,500. Reports say Iacobelli sold the sports car when news of the probe emerged. He also admitted to $262,219 in training center funds used to pay off Holiefield mortgage.
Both pens are in the possession of the government at this time.
On the tax charge, Iacobelli said he omitted more than $840,000 in income for the calendar year 2014, obtained illegally through FCA funds.
Morgan is scheduled for a another plea hearing Feb. 6, while Durden is to be sentenced in May and King is to be sentenced in June. Durden and King pleaded guilty.
According to the plea deal, Iacobelli’s sentencing will not exceed 96 months. Henning said he would be “shocked” if time in federal prison was not recommended. “Sometimes you see crimes of opportunity, where it’s a one time transaction. This was systematic corruption inside the corporation. That’s what’s likely to lead to a prison sentence.”
The UAW said in a statement Monday that it is “appalled at these charges. We have worked with the (national training center) and Fiat Chrysler to implement a range of measures aimed at enhancing transparency and internal controls at the NTC to reduce the risk of any future recurrence of these activities.”
Marchionne has said the conduct nothing whatsoever to do with the collective bargaining process and the acts were neither known to nor sanctioned by (Fiat Chrysler).” The company had no further comment Monday.
Reuters and Michael Wayland contributed to this report.
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