Former UAW official faces new criminal charge

Vance Pearson resigned in November

A Missouri-based United Auto Workers official, who was charged with corruption in September, faces a new criminal charge and is expected to plead guilty, according to court documents.

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Vance Pearson, former director of UAW's Region 5, faced a preliminary hearing Monday and on accusations of embezzling union funds and spending that money on items like cigars, golfing and clothes.

"Make no mistake about it. If Vance Pearson misused Union funds to buy personal items for himself and others, and then lied about and hid that conduct from the UAW, he blatantly violated his oath of office and betrayed the trust of all our hard-working members," the UAW said in a statement on Monday. 

In November, the UAW International Executive Board filed a civil complaint against Pearson to remove him from his elected position and to take away his UAW membership, according to the union.

"While our Union is moving forward, we will never forget the costly lessons from our past," the union said. "Under the leadership of President Rory Gamble, working tirelessly with the Board, the UAW continues to implement a series of critical reforms necessary to strengthen the union’s financial controls, oversight and its overall accounting system so this type of conduct cannot happen again."

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Vance Pearson resigned as the United Automobile Workers' Region 5 director.

Pearson is expected to plead guilty, something that could be bad news for former UAW presidents Gary Jones and Dennis Williams. Jones took over from Williams in 2018 amid the corruption scandal that is still playing out.

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Jones resigned in the wake of the union's International Executive Board's action to remove him in November.

The case against Pearson is part of a larger investigation of UAW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles that began in 2015 and has resulted in several convictions. Many of these have been related to UAW officials improperly receiving gifts from Fiat Chrysler, and another involved a UAW official taking kickbacks from vendors in exchange for union contracts.

In November, General Motors filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over the issue.

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Fox News' Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.