Widow of union official led 'high-flying lifestyle' on cash meant to train autoworkers: prosecutor


The wife of a late United Auto Workers union official received an 18-month prison sentence Friday as part of a federal corruption investigation at a training center run by the union and automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Monica Morgan, 55, will also serve a year of supervised release and pay a $25,000 fine, a judge decided.

Morgan, a prominent photographer in the Detroit area, was married to General Holiefield, who was a UAW vice president before his 2015 death. She pleaded guilty earlier this year to a tax crime.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gardey said the scheme allowed Morgan to engage in a “high-flying lifestyle” despite a declared annual income of about $5,400, the Detroit Free Press reported.

"This was not some slip-up," Gardey told the judge, the Detroit News reported. "It was a cold and calculated effort to get money for herself and her husband … to satisfy simple greed."

"This was not some slip-up. It was a cold and calculated effort to get money for herself and her husband … to satisfy simple greed."

– Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gardey

He noted that tax crimes were not victimless offenses.

“We are all victims of someone who engages in tax fraud,” he said.

According to Gardey, Morgan traveled first-class, spent tens of thousands of dollars and helped funnel $325,000 to a fake hospice, the paper reported. In addition, her photography business received about $80,000 through bogus photography courses, the report said.

She has paid about $102,000 in restitution and still owes $88,000, the Free Press reported.

"This was a cold and calculating effort by her and her husband to use shell companies to conceal bribe payments," Gardey said, according to the Free Press. "She was someone who knew exactly what she was doing and chose to commit this crime."

"She was someone who knew exactly what she was doing and chose to commit this crime."

– Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gardey

Former Fiat Chrysler labor negotiator Al Iacobelli admitted spending more than $1.5 million in cash and gifts on high-ranking UAW members, including Holiefield.

A $262,000 mortgage on Holiefield’s home was paid off with training center money that came from Fiat Chrysler.

Morgan’s defense attorney, Steven Fishman, had argued against a prison sentence, citing the defendant’s acts of community service. He cited dozens of letters submitted to the court by supporters of Morgan, the Detroit News reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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