By Ben Klayman and David Shepardson
(Reuters) -A former president of the United Auto Workers, Dennis Williams, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and fined $10,000 on Tuesday for conspiring to embezzle union funds as part of a larger federal probe of corruption in the union.
Williams, 68, is one of 16 people convicted in a wide-ranging probe conducted by the office for the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, which last December reached a deal with the union for independent oversight.
“The court’s sentence for former UAW President Williams demonstrates that the very highest level of leadership of the UAW has been held accountable for betraying the
trust of the UAW’s membership,” said Acting United States Attorney Saima Mohsin.
Williams, who pleaded guilty on Sept. 30, apologized to UAW members and his family at a video hearing.
Williams' successor as head of the UAW, Gary Jones, pleaded guilty to embezzlement of union funds last June and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
Williams was charged with conspiracy with others to embezzle money from the union between 2010 and September 2019. He was head of the UAW from June 2014 to June 2018, and was forced to resign last September.
Prosecutors said Williams accepted housing for himself and friends at private villas in Palm Springs, California, golf clothing and other merchandise, rounds of golf, meals, high-end liquor and cigars provided by co-conspirators, all paid for with union funds.
"I undermined my life's work by making a personal decision to accept things like condo stays and golf, cigars and liquor without questioning how those things were being paid for," an emotional Williams told Judge Paul Borman on Tuesday. "What I did was wrong."
Williams paid $132,517 in restitution to the UAW and $15,459 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service on embezzled items he personally received.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman and David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler)