Ex-UAW official Pearson sentenced to 1 year in prison

DETROIT — Former UAW Regional Director Vance Pearson was sentenced Tuesday to a year in federal prison for conspiring to embezzle union funds and further racketeering activity with other high-ranking union officials.

The court recognized that Pearson played “a minor role but at the same time, it was active,” said U.S. District Judge Paul Borman. The court did not order Pearson to pay a fine.

Pearson’s original sentencing guideline was 24-30 months. But acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin last month requested a reduced 14-month sentence because of Pearson’s cooperation and assistance in the investigation and prosecutions of ex-UAW presidents Gary Jones and Dennis Williams. Jones was sentenced to 28 months in June, and Williams was sentenced to 21 months in May.

In December 2019, two months after he was arrested, Pearson began cooperating with investigators through in-person and phone interviews. He agreed to testify against his co-conspirators and forfeited money from two bank accounts, his “Flower Fund” and “Members in Solidarity,” that prosecutors were unaware of at the time. His “Flower Fund” was to be used for the purchase of flowers for the funerals of UAW members and their families. The fund, made up of union contributions, has been exploited by UAW officials for their personal use.

The “Members in Solidarity” account was to be used for campaign expenses for UAW elections.

Pearson’s cooperation also helped the government prepare its civil lawsuit and negotiation to secure oversight of the UAW with an independent monitor in May.

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