DETROIT – The United Automobile Workers (UAW) union’s former Region 5 director pleaded guilty to corruption charges Friday morning.
Vance Pearson was given new superseding information indictment, declaring the UAW a criminal enterprise along with new charges of conspiracy to embezzle union funds.
Pearson initially pleaded not guilty to previous charges of embezzling union funds, money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy. He resigned in November 2019 after the UAW International Board voted to begin Article 30 proceedings against both former UAW President Gary Jones and Pearson.
Officials said Pearson padded expensive reports for UAW California golf outings where union leadership lived in high-end golf resort villas and spent union money on expensive cigars.
Officials cite his buying of 16 boxes of Diamond Crown Churchills at $243 a throw and 10 boxes of Ashton Monarch Tubos at $275 -- a total of $13,000 of union money spent on high-crafted stogies.
The government wants either the cigars or the money back as part of a forfeiture allegation. If Pearson ends up pleading guilty he must pay the government an equal amount to the theft.