Former GM board member, union leader sentenced to 30 months in jail

Former UAW vice president Joe Ashton speaks during a GM announcement in 2011 at a plant in Spring Hill, Tenn.


The former General Motors board member, who is a retired United Auto Workers leader, was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Tuesday for fraud and money laundering as part of an ongoing federal investigation into the union.

Ashton, who resigned from the GM board in December 2017 after being linked to corruption, pleaded guilty to the charges in December under an agreement with US prosecutors and agreed to pay a fine of $ 250,000, which he said was illegally bribed and Accepted in kickback.

Money laundering carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years, while a fraud charge can be up to 20 years. However, federal prosecutors suggested her sentence be between 30 and 37 months as part of the plea.

Ashton’s wife, one of his four adult sons and a family friend, spoke on their behalf during the hearing, which was conducted via Zoom. According to The Detroit News, dozens of supporters wrote letters on behalf of Ashton to an undisclosed member of Congress.

US District Judge Bernard Freedman said he took into consideration the comments as well as the letters while sentencing. Ashton will not have to report for encroachment until June 2021 due to coronavirus. Ashton’s lawyer requested an exemption from prison due to the coronovirus epidemic, while prosecutors argued for 37 months due to the financial seriousness of the crimes.

Ashton is one of 15 people charged and convicted as part of a federal corruption investigation, including two recent UAV presidents and three Fiat Chrysler officers.

“I can’t tell you how sorry and remorseful I am for what I have done,” Ashton said during the hearing. “I betrayed the trust that my union members have had for me for 50 years, and I am truly sorry for that. I take full ownership of my actions and no apology will ever change the harm I have done. . “

The allegations centered on Ashton’s position to oversee a jointly operated training center known as the Human Resource Center with GM, which the company dissolved last year as part of a new labor agreement with the union Was. Ashton supervised the facility from 2010 to 2014 when he retired from the union.

The UAV said in a statement on Tuesday that Ashton’s sentence was “justified”. It added that “crime is everything to us that we stand as a union and they have demonstrated their oath of office and lack of respect for the rank-and-file members they represent.”

GM previously called Ashton’s actions “outrageous”. It also reiterated that it “was not aware of its illegal activity until it was revealed by a recent government investigation.” Nor was the company aware that “he allegedly continued to benefit from this conduct” while he was a board member.


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