Filing: Auto training center funds laundered through hospice

Markets Associated Press

Money stolen from the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center was laundered through a fake Detroit-area hospice center, according to a federal court filing.

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Tuesday's filing is a government forfeiture complaint that seeks to keep $292,000 seized from bank accounts connected to Hospice of Metropolitan Detroit, according to The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press.

More than $4 million in training and education funds intended for autoworkers was stolen as part of the scheme. A former Fiat Chrysler executive, the wife of a United Auto Workers leader and two others are charged in the scheme. Authorities allege the stolen money was used to pay for vacations, expensive clothing, a Ferrari luxury sports car and other items.

The government said some of the money was funneled from the hospice center to Monica Morgan, a Detroit photographer and wife of late UAW vice president General Holiefield. Holiefield negotiated with Fiat Chrysler on behalf of the UAW. He died in 2015.

Some funds were transferred from the training center in Detroit to the Leave the Light on Foundation, a children's charity controlled by Holiefield. Money then was transferred to Morgan from the hospice center, according to documents.

A former Hospice of Metropolitan Detroit board member told federal agents that the center "was formed to operate as a typical hospice, but never provided any hospice-related services," the documents said.

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Morgan and former Fiat Chrysler labor relations chief Al Iacobelli are charged with conspiracy and tax crimes. They are awaiting trial.

Iacobelli is accused of giving $1.2 million in various gifts to Holiefield and Morgan, and other senior union managers.

Former UAW associate director Virdell King pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to violate the Labor Management Relations Act. A judge set her sentencing for Jan. 3, 2018. King is accused of buying designer clothing, jewelry and luggage with credit cards issued through the training center.

Former Fiat Chrysler financial analyst Jerome Durden pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and failure to file a tax return. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 12. Durden is accused of helping to illegally funnel worker training funds.