| 4:46 PM EST

Former UAW, GM Exec Ashton Gets 30 Months in Prison

Guilty of pressuring vendors for $550,000 in bribes and kickbacks.
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Joe Ashton—former United Auto Workers union vice president and General Motors board member—will be spending 30 months in prison for money laundering and wire fraud.

Ashton pleaded guilty to both charges last December. He faced a possible sentence of 20 years in prison. He won’t begin his punishment until at least June because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Joe Ashton

Ashamed

“I cannot tell you how ashamed and remorseful I am,” Aston told U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman today. The judge agreed that “sometimes good people do bad things,” but he added that everyone must “respect the law no matter who they are.”

Ashton admitted nearly a year ago that he had conspired with other UAW officials to extract $550,000 in bribes and kickbacks from vendors on contracts for nearly $16 million worth of UAW-logoed jackets, backpacks and commemorative watches.

Aston is a former head of the union’s GM department. After retiring in 2014, he was appointed to GM’s board as a represent the UAW’s retiree healthcare trust. He resigned from that post in 2017 and was charged two years later.

Probe Continues

Aston is among 15 former UAW or auto industry executives charged by federal prosecutors. their continuing probe began four years ago with an investigation into embezzlement at the jointly operated UAW-Fiat Chrysler Automobiles training center in suburban Detroit.

The continuing scandal has led to the conviction of two former UAW presidents, Dennis Williams and Gary Jones, and several other former senior union officials.

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