Former UAW leader Vance Pearson sentenced to year in prison for racketeering, embezzlement conspiracy

Judge cites ‘betrayal of trust that was serious’

Former United Auto Workers (UAW) regional director Vance Pearson has been sentenced to 12 months in prison and three years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the UAW so he and other officials could live a “lavish” lifestyle, buying golf equipment, expensive villas, cigars and more.

DETROIT – Former United Auto Workers (UAW) regional director Vance Pearson has been sentenced to 12 months in prison and three years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the UAW so he and other officials could live a “lavish” lifestyle, buying golf equipment, expensive villas, cigars and more.

U.S. District Judge Paul Borman ruled Tuesday that Pearson, 60, also must pay $250,000 in restitution jointly with former UAW presidents Dennis Williams and Gary Jones. Earlier this year, Jones was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to stealing from the union while Williams was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison.

Judge Borman cited a “betrayal of trust that was serious” when sentencing Pearson, the final person sentenced in a regional corruption scandal that prompted further government oversight.

Read more: Vance Pearson pleads guilty to embezzling UAW money for golf, villas, ‘lavish’ lifestyle

Pearson was accused of conspiring to aid racketeering crimes between 2010 and September 2019. He admitted during a plea hearing that he conspired with at least six other senior UAW officials in a multiyear conspiracy to embezzle money from the UAW for personal benefit, officials said. Pearson and other officials hid their person expenditures in the cost of UAW Region 5 conferences held in Palm Springs, California, Coronado, California and Missouri, according to authorities.

Pearson was accused of conspiring with UAW officials to aid racketeering activity through the internet and email. He pleaded guilty to conspiring with other UAW officials to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars in UAW dues money and to further racketeering activity. He could have faced up to five years in prison.

Pearson is expected to serve his prison sentence at the FPC Yankton, a minimum-security United States federal prison for male inmates in South Dakota.

Former UAW officials Gary Jones and Vance Pearson in a golf cart. (WDIV)

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About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.