Ex-UAW Official Pleads Guilty To Fraud, Money Laundering In Corruption Probe

WWJ News
September 04, 2019 - 3:09 pm
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DETROIT (WWJ) - A retired UAW official has pleaded guilty to wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering charges -- the ninth to do so amid a federal corruption probe.

Michael Grimes, 65, a native of Grand Blanc, Michigan, confessed that he conspired with two other high-level UAW officials in the UAW’s GM Department to take millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks from vendors doing business with the joint UAW-GM Center for Human Resources. 

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Grimes admitted that over the course of the twelve year conspiracy, he and the others demanded bribes and kickbacks from the vendors in exchange for securing or maintaining contracts with the Center for Human Resources or with the UAW’s GM Department.  

“The hard-working members of the UAW deserve to be represented by leaders who give them true leadership — and that means leadership that isn’t driven by corruption and greed,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, in a statement. “Today’s guilty plea is another step in the right direction of our battle against corruption in the union leadership.” 

Grimes, who now lives in Ft. Myers, Florida, will be sentenced on January 14.

[In-Depth Look At The UAW Negotiations With The Big 3]

He could face up to 30 years in prison, though the government is recommending around five.

"Grimes chose greed over bargaining in the best interest of UAW members to personally enrich himself," said  Irene Lindow, Special Agent-in-Charge, Chicago Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General. "We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect the financial integrity of labor organizations."

This development comes a week after authorities searched the Canton home of current UAW President Gary Jones, the home of former President Dennis Williams, and the UAW Black Lake complex in Northern Michigan.

Those investigations are still ongoing.

 "Today’s guilty plea highlights a years-long criminal investigation of wrongdoing between high ranking UAW officials and vendors,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Drolshagen. “The FBI and our federal partners will remain vigilant in our efforts to expose these corrupt fraud schemes that continue to undermine the trust and hard work of union members.”