The money was reportedly used to live the high life with a Ferrari, private jets, swimming pools and lavish jewelry.
This developing story has all the makings of an epic money laundering scandal not seen in the Detroit auto scene for a very long time. All the key pieces are there, from questionable businesses to secret payments, tax fraud, and ridiculously lavish purchases which allegedly include a Ferrari 458, major home improvements, first-class travel around the world, private jets, and solid gold ink pens reportedly costing $37,500 each.
Then again, when you have $1.2 million dollars burning a hole in your pocket, such things are child’s play.
At the center of it all are two auto-industry bigwigs: Ex-Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Labor-Relations Chief Alphons Iacobelli (pictured above on the far right), and former United Auto Workers Vice President General Holiefield (also pictured above on the far left). Holiefield died in 2015, but his widow Monica Morgan is listed along with Iacobelli on a 42-page indictment filed on Wednesday, as reported by Automotive News.
The pair face a litany of serious violations that range from failure to file tax returns to conspiracy against the United States. It all stems from an alleged plot to funnel $1.2 million dollars from the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, a business designed to help train and educate FCA workers who belong to the UAW. The actions reportedly span a timeframe of 2009 to 2014, which means that, if the allegations are true, these folks were reaping decidedly unearned benefits while literally tens of thousands of people in the Michigan auto industry were losing their jobs and homes because of the Great Recession. Nice.
Both FCA and the UAW have released statements condemning the actions while promising full cooperation with authorities. For now, Iacobelli and Morgan are the only two on the hook, but it’s not yet known just how deep the rabbit hole goes. Among other things, Iacobelli was hired by General Motors last year to be the company’s director of labor relations. Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, a GM spokesman said the company had just learned of the indictment and was looking into the matter.
Of course, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and we suspect this case will be ongoing for quite some time. We will update the story as more information emerges.