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Fiat Chrysler-UAW bribery scandal expected to widen

Handshake with money

Former Fiat Chrysler Financial Analyst Jerome Durden was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Wednesday for conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Durden is accused of creating false tax returns for the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, and a fake charity, the Leave the Light On Foundation, to conceal bribes from Fiat Chrysler executives to UAW executives.

The bribes were intended to result in more favorable union contracts for the automaker in 2011 and 2015.

Also sentenced Wednesday, UAW administrator Keith Mickens, for transfering more than $700,000 in bribes to UAW Vice President General Holiefield and his wife, Monica Morgan. Holiefield died in 2015 before he could be indicted. Mickens received a sentence of 12 months in prison.

Former Fiat Chrysler Director for Employee Relations Michael Brown also received a 12-month prison sentence, for attempting to conceal the conspiracy from federal investigators.

Earlier this year, former Chrysler Vice President Alphons Iacobelli was sentenced to 66 months in prison for his role in the payoffs and for submitting false tax returns. Monica Morgan was sentenced to 18 months in prison for tax fraud related to the conspiracy.

More indictments are expected in the widening scandal.

The United Auto Workers says top leaders were unaware of the bribes, and the union also maintains the bribes did not actually influence the 2011 and 2015 contracts.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.