Jerome Durden, Former FCA Executive Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Pay Off UAW Officials

August 11, 2017

A former financial analyst at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC (FCA) entered a guilty plea today.

Jerome Durden, 61, of Rochester, Michigan pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

According to court records, Durden admitted that he and his co-conspirators used the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center as a conduit to conceal over a million dollars in prohibited payments and things of value paid to UAW Vice President General Holiefield and other UAW officials.

Durden admitted to preparing and filing numerous false tax returns on behalf of the tax-exempt UAW-Chrysler National Training Center and on behalf of a purported charity called the Leave the Light On Foundation as part of a conspiracy to obstruct and impair the Internal Revenue Service. Durden acknowledged that the false tax returns concealed compensation paid to Holiefield and others and caused over $1,000,000 in tax losses to the United States.

“Mr. Darden's criminal conduct was part of a broader pattern of dishonesty and collusion among those implicated in this investigation,” said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the FBI. “Top level executives at FCA and the UAW chose to misappropriate over a million dollars directly from the NTC at the expense of the FCA workforce. The FBI and its federal partners will remain vigilant in exposing and prosecuting anyone, regardless of their position within an organization, who violates federal laws.”

“Investigating the abuse of tax exempt organizations and charities is a priority for IRS Criminal Investigation (CI),” said Manny Muriel, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Detroit Field Office. “IRS-CI is committed to hold trustees, directors and officers of exempt organizations responsible for filing false tax returns or any other attempts to interfere with our nation’s tax system.”

"Jerome Durden conspired to divert over $4.5 million in NTC funds intended for UAW member training and education, and failed to report related taxable income. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to combat crimes that deprive American workers of training opportunities," stated James Vanderberg, Special Agent in Charge, Chicago Region, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General.

Durden is scheduled to be sentenced on December 12, 2017 at 9:30 p.m. in Ann Arbor.

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