Owner of security company pleads guilty to lesser charge in Macomb County embezzlement scheme
The owner of a Metro Detroit security company pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in connection with a Macomb County embezzlement case after agreeing to testify against former county prosecutor Eric Smith, who faces a list of corruption charges.
South Africa's ex-president should be jailed, argues lawyer
JOHANNESBURG – Lawyers for a commission investigating corruption in South Africa have asked the country’s highest court to jail former president Jacob Zuma for two years for failing to cooperate with its probe. For this contempt of court, Zuma should be convicted and sentenced to two years in prison, Tembeka Nqcukaitobi, a lawyer for the commission, argued Thursday at the Constitutional Court. As a former head of state, Zuma has a duty to abide by the constitution, said Nqcukaitobi. The judges of the constitutional court said they will deliberate on the matter and deliver a decision, but they did not specify when. About 20 of Zuma’s supporters braved rain in Johannesburg on Thursday to demonstrate in front of the Constitutional Court to show their unwavering support for him.
Fiat Chrysler pleads guilty in corruption case
DETROIT – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, now part of Stellantis, has pleaded guilty in a long-running corruption probe. There will be a federal monitor making sure that there are no improper payments to UAW going forward. FCA stands for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which now is part of Stellantis, a company created by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Peugeot. “Your honor, we plead guilty,” FCA general counsel Chris Pardi told U.S. District Judge Paul Borman. They are awaiting their sentences in Detroit federal court.
Federal judge approves consent decree for independent monitor to oversee UAW’s finances, operations
DETROIT – A federal judge approved Friday a consent decree in which an independent monitor will watch over the United Auto Workers’ finances and operations for the next six years. According to court documents, “the Court shall retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of this consent decree through Jan. 12. The approval comes one month after the UAW agreed to an independent monitor following a federal probe into corruption. Within six months of when the monitor is appointed, union members will decide by secret ballots whether they will vote directly to pick the union’s future leaders. Union members met with federal prosecutors in June as a first step to bring reform to the union.
Fiat Chrysler agrees to plead guilty, pay $30M in UAW probe
DETROIT – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $30 million fine for a corruption scandal at the union that represents its factory workers, authorities said Wednesday. Al Iacobelli was the head of labor relations at Fiat Chrysler and co-chairman of the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center in Detroit. Training center credit cards paid for more than $30,000 in meals for UAW officials at various restaurants in Southern California, the government said. The government’s investigation began at the training center but stretched to other corrupt acts at the UAW. Fiat Chrysler US is a subsidiary of Stellantis, a company created by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Peugeot.
Detroit pastor reacts to commutation of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
DETROIT – Bishop J. Drew Sheard with Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ said the recent news of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick being released from prison is good news. UPDATE: US releases former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from prisonIn 2013, Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison after he was convicted of racketeering, mail fraud, wire fraud and more charges. Several well-known pastors, like Bishop Sheard, Bishop T.D. Ellis said he thought Trump would have made his decision during the election season.
Nearly 8 years ago: Kwame Kilpatrick is convicted on 24 federal felony counts
DETROIT - OCTOBER 28: Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick appears in Wayne County Circuit Court for his sentencing October 28, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)DETROIT – On March 11, 2013, former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted on 24 federal felony counts, including mail fraud, wire fraud, and racketeering. Kwame Kilpatrick and Bernard Kilpatrick hug in Detroit court on March 11, 2013. Ferguson and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick were convicted on federal racketeering charges. Bernard Kilpatrick, Kwame Kilpatrick's father, is accused of public corruption along with Victor Mercado, his son Kwame and Bobby Ferguson.
UAW, US Attorney reach settlement to reform union after corruption scandal
DETROIT – The United Auto Workers and the U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit said they reached a settlement following a federal corruption investigation that’s stretched on for years. The goal of the settlement is to reform the union in the wake of a bribery and embezzlement scandal. The deal includes federal oversight for years to come and a critical vote by the rank and file. Federal authorities did not issue fines or penalties against the union, saying it would take away from members. UAW President Rory Gamble said while a dark chapter is now closed, he’s still disappointed by officials who stole from union members.
Former UAW vice president sentenced to 30 months for taking $250,000 in bribes and kickbacks
Ashton and his UAW co-conspirators demanded kickbacks on the $3.9 million contract for the Center for Human Resources to buy 58,000 watches for all UAW members employed by GM. However, the watches were never distributed to UAW members. Read more: UAW president steps down as GM sues rival over union briberyAshton is one of 15 defendants convicted in connection with the ongoing criminal investigation into illegal payoffs to UAW officials by FCA executives and corruption within the UAW itself. In addition, the following UAW officials have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing: former UAW President Gary Jones, former senior UAW official Jeffrey “Paycheck” Pietrzyk, former UAW Region 5 Director and UAW Board member Vance Pearson, former UAW Midwest CAP President Edward “Nick” Robinson, and former UAW President Dennis Williams. Ashton’s greed caused irreparable damage to the trust UAW members have in their leaders who are supposed to represent their best interests,” stated Schneider.
Newly-freed man says corrupt Detroit police officer’s bogus testimony landed him in jail
DETROIT – A man previously charged with drug possession is suing the city of Detroit and its police department -- specifically after his arresting officer was found to be corrupt. Renard Austin, 40, of Detroit was arrested in October of 2018 when Detroit police raided his friend’s house. Austin did say, however, that one Detroit police officer was on him, big time. Austin claims the former officer told him “If you pay $10,000, this will all go away.”Mosely was one of several former Detroit police officers recently found to be corrupt. He has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Detroit and the Detroit Police Department regarding Mosely’s alleged corrupt behavior.
‘Operation Clean Sweep’: Detroit police Chief James Craig says corrupt officers won’t avoid charges
DETROIT – The Detroit Police Department has been trying to clean up what chief James Craig admits was a dirty narcotics unit -- the department launched what’s called operation “clean sweep.”The operation led to the firing of one officer, the retirement of a sergeant and three other officers, suspensions of two officers with pay and the resignations of three officers. “This probe has had a significant impact on rooting out corruption, but our work does continue,” Craig said. And those monies were not paid, not paid to the informant. Suggesting alleged embezzlement by officers,” Craig said. Craig said this is the first time a police corruption probe of this magnitude and complexity was launched by the department.
Ex-UAW president Dennis Williams charged with corruption in federal probe
Dennis Williams is the 15th person to be charged in an investigation of the senior ranks of the venerable labor union. He retired as UAW president in 2018, handing the reins to Gary Jones, who was promoted to the top job from the union's St. Louis-area regional office. More than $22,000 in union money was used to rent a villa for Williams for a four-month period in 2016-17, the charging document states. Ten union officials and a late officials spouse have pleaded guilty since 2017, although not all the crimes were connected. In June, current UAW President Rory Gamble met with Schneider to discuss an independent monitor to oversee the union.
Former UAW president Dennis Williams is 15th person charged in corruption case
Former UAW president Dennis Williams rose to prominence within the union, starting as secretary-treasurer in 2013. He is the 15th person charged the UAW corruption investigation -- a list that includes former president Gary Jones. RELATED: Ex-UAW President Gary Jones pleads guilty in corruption caseIt was a year ago that the FBI raided Jones home in Canton and went into Williams home in California. Williams allegedly had taken more that $71,000 in union money. Jones was Williams choice and though he was elected it was baked into the cake before any convention.
Karen Spranger pleads no contest to lesser charge in larceny case
Former Macomb County clerk Karen Spranger has pleaded no contest to a lesser charge in a case accusing her of stealing money from a 78-year-old woman. Spranger was charged with larceny, which is a felony, but pleaded no contest Wednesday to the lesser misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace. Pictures from a Chase Bank in January 2019 show Spranger making the withdrawals allegedly without permission from the victim. In all, the Macomb County prosecutor said Spranger made eight withdrawals worth $1,660 between Jan. 1 and Jan. 8. Spranger was also accused of assaulting that 78-year-old woman when she confronted Spranger about the money.
Taylor residents hold protest outside City Hall over corruption probe
TAYLOR, Mich. Residents in Taylor held a protest Tuesday outside of City Hall calling on council members to force the mayor to step down after allegations of corruption. According to the indictment, Sollars helped Shady Awads real estate development company to obtain multiple tax-foreclosed properties owned by the city. In return, the court documents allege Awad gave Sollars thousands of dollars and tens of thousands of dollars worth of renovations and appliances. Protesters believe the City Council should have done more to prevent the mayor from engaging in the alleged illegal behavior. They plan to protest outside of every City Council meeting.
Detroit historian: White Boy Rick Wershe prison release way overdue
DETROIT Richard White Boy Rick Wershe Jr. is set to be released from prison on Monday after 32 years behind bars. Wershe was only 14 years old when he was recruited by the FBI in Detroit as a highly-paid, drug-dealing informant. Though the story of White Boy Rick has been well-shared across Metro Detroit for decades, the story also made national headlines over the years. Burstein even served as a consultant for the White Boy Rick film. When you add in the factors of all the mitigating circumstances considering that he was recruited out of eight grade and turned into a drug dealer, the U.S. government actually created the persona that is White Boy Rick, Burnstein added.
Ex-UAW President Gary Jones pleads guilty in corruption case
DETROIT Former UAW President Gary Jones has plead guilty in a federal corruption probe and has agreed to serve up to 57 months in prison as a part of the plea deal. Gary Jones, 63, of Texas, pled guilty to one count of conspiring to embezzle UAW dues money and conspiring to use a facility of interstate commerce to aid racketeering crimes between 2010 and September 2019. Besides conspiring with other UAW officials to embezzle UAW funds, Jones pled guilty to conspiring with UAW officials to defraud the United States by impeding the Internal Revenue Service in the collection of taxes from Jones and other UAW officials. As part of his guilty plea, Jones has agreed to forfeit his interest in $81,000 in a UAW Region 5 flower fund, as well as $38,000 from Jones Members in Solidarity account. Jones also agreed to forfeit a set of Titleist golf clubs seized when federal agents executed a search warrant at Jones home in August 2019.
Ex-Macomb County trustee pleads guilty in corruption case
MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. Just a day after federal authorities announced charges against former Macomb County Commissioner of Public Works Anthony Marrocco, the other key figure in the Macomb County corruption case pleaded guilty. READ: Former Macomb County Commissioner of Public Works indicted for extortionDino Bucci, who was formerly a county trustee and then became a deputy to Marrocco in the public works department, appeared before a judge via video on Thursday. He admitted to pressuring developers and contractors to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on tickets to Marroccos fundraisers. READ: Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci arraigned on 18 counts of corruptionBucci, 60, is facing 9-10 years in federal prison. View the indictment from 2017 below:READ: Metro Detroit trash magnate Chuck Rizzo pleads guilty to bribery, could face 10 years in prison
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith announces resignation amid corruption charges
MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith announced Monday that he has resigned amid corruption charges. Smith has been hit with 10 criminal corruption charges -- including running a criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony -- in connection with the alleged misuse of county forfeiture funds. "With that said, it is with heavy heart that today I am announcing my immediate resignation from the Office of the Macomb County Prosecutor. “To the citizens of Macomb County, thank you for allowing me to be your prosecutor for so many years. The Office of the Macomb County Prosecutor is bigger than any one person.
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith resigns amid corruption charges
MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith announced Monday that he has resigned amid corruption charges. "With that said, it is with heavy heart that today I am announcing my immediate resignation from the Office of the Macomb County Prosecutor. “To the citizens of Macomb County, thank you for allowing me to be your prosecutor for so many years. The Office of the Macomb County Prosecutor is bigger than any one person. Eric Smith (WDIV)Judge Cynthia Arvant decided Smith does not appear to be a flight risk, as he is still working as the county prosecutor.
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith pleads not guilty in corruption case
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith pleads not guilty in corruption casePublished: March 27, 2020, 5:39 pmMacomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith has been hit with 10 criminal corruption charges -- including running a criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony -- in connection with the alleged misuse of county forfeiture funds.
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith arraigned on corruption charges
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith has been hit with 10 criminal corruption charges -- including running a criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony -- in connection with the alleged misuse of county forfeiture funds. UPDATE: Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith resigns corruption chargesHe was arraigned Friday morning in 41B District Court. The state asked for a $250,000 personal recognizance bond, while the defense asked for it be to $10,000. The state also asked for Smith’s passport to be seized and for Smith to be held from not leaving the state of Michigan. Eric Smith (WDIV)Judge Cynthia Arvant decided Smith does not appear to be a flight risk, as he is still working as the county prosecutor.
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith faces corruption charges after forfeiture funds probe
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith faces a list of corruption charges including conducting a criminal enterprise and embezzlement after an investigation into his handling of forfeiture funds. “When public officials fail to do so, the people must have confidence that they will be held to account, fairly, and without any special treatment based upon their status as a public official. However, investigators found Smith had four accounts containing public monies he controlled without official county oversight. For Smith to be removed as Macomb County Prosecutor, it would either be a decision by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer or through an action of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners and its chairman, Bob Smith, who is also Eric Smith’s brother.
7 years ago today: Kwame Kilpatrick is convicted on 24 federal felony counts
(Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)DETROIT – On March 11, 2013, former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted on 24 federal felony counts, including mail fraud, wire fraud, and racketeering. I don’t have any comment,” Kwame Kilpatrick said to reporters while walking out of court that day. Kwame Kilpatrick and Bernard Kilpatrick hug in Detroit court on March 11, 2013. Ferguson and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick were convicted on federal racketeering charges. Bernard Kilpatrick, Kwame Kilpatrick's father, is accused of public corruption along with Victor Mercado, his son Kwame and Bobby Ferguson.
Retired UAW leader Joe Ashton due in court for bribery charges
Another United Auto Workers leader is expected to plead guilty in court today as part of a federal probe into alleged corruption within the union. Joe Ashton, the retired UAW-GM vice president, is believed to have crafted a scheme with two associates, Jeffrey Pietrzyk and Michael Grimes, involving kickbacks and rigged bids totaling millions of dollars. READ MORE: Retired UAW Vice President Joe Ashton charged in bribery, kickback scandalUAW Interim President Rory Gamble wants to change the union’s direction entirely with the increased exposure of more alleged corruption. “It is shocking and very disheartening at the same time,” Gamble said. Pietrzyk, who served on union’s Center for Human Resources board with Ashton, and Grimes, Ashton’s administrative assistant have already pleaded gui;ty and are waiting to be sentenced.