Fifteen people have been convicted in connection with a federal corruption investigation into the UAW. Joe Ashton, a former UAW vice president, is among them, having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud last year. Tuesday, he was handed one of the longest prison sentences to arise from the scandal.
US District Judge Bernard Friedman sentenced Ashton to 30 months, or two-and-a-half years, in federal prison, though Ashton will not have to report to prison until June because of the pandemic. Prosecutors had asked for a 34-month prison sentence, while Ashton’s lawyer had asked for home confinement.
The allegations against Ashton were about as sleazy as you might expect in a case like this. From Automotive News:
According to the charges against him, Ashton in 2010 persuaded a chiropractor friend in Philadelphia to lend money to a construction company owned by another friend. After the construction company stopped repaying the loan, Ashton created a scheme in which the chiropractor formed a company solely to bid on a contract for 58,000 custom-made UAW watches, and Ashton steered the $4 million order to the chiropractor in exchange for a kickback. The watches were never distributed.
Today’s sentencing hearing was held via conference call. The Detroit News’s Robert Snell was on for it and, well, his Twitter thread yesterday afternoon was quite the ride.
Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, as they say.
Still to be seen in this scandal, when the dust settles, is whether the feds will move to take over the UAW, though right now that’s anyone’s guess.