Edward “Nick” Robinson, the former President of the United Auto Workers Midwest CAP and the former Director of the UAW Labor and Employment Training Corporation, was sentenced to 12 months in prison and was directed to pay $342,000 in restitution to the UAW and the IRS, pending a final restitution hearing, based on convictions for conspiring with other UAW officials to embezzle UAW funds and evade taxes announced U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider.
Joining in the announcement were Irene Lindow, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, Timothy Waters, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit, Michigan office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sarah Kull, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit, Michigan office of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, and Thomas Murray, District Director, U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Labor-Management Standards.
Edward “Nick” Robinson, 73, of Kirkwood, Missouri, had previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to embezzle UAW dues money between 2010 and September 2019 and to evade paying taxes on his illegal income. Between at least 2010 and September 2019, Robinson served as the President of the UAW’s Midwest CAP of Region 5 of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Workers of America (“UAW”). The UAW Midwest CAP is one of the UAW’s Community Action Program Councils which are supported through UAW dues money. The UAW’s Region 5 is headquartered in Hazelwood, Missouri, and covers the tens of thousands of UAW members in Missouri and the sixteen states to the southwest, including California and Texas. Robinson also served as the Director of the UAW Labor and Employment Training Corporation headquartered in Hazelwood, Missouri. The UAW-LETC was supposed to provide workforce training and development programs.
The investigation revealed that Robinson had conspired with at least six other senior UAW officials, including two UAW Presidents, in a multiyear conspiracy to embezzle money from the UAW for the personal benefit of Robinson and other senior UAW officials. UAW officials concealed personal expenditures in the cost of UAW Region 5 conferences held in Palm Springs, California, Coronado, California, and Missouri. Between 2010 and 2018, other UAW officials submitted fraudulent expense forms seeking reimbursement from the UAW’s Detroit headquarters for expenditures supposedly incurred in connection with Region 5 leadership and training conferences. In truth, however, Robinson and his co-conspirators used the conferences to conceal the hundreds of thousands of dollars in UAW funds spent on lavish entertainment and personal spending for the conspirators.
During the sentencing hearing, the United States requested a reduced sentence for Robinson based on his extraordinary cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of other individuals, as well as based on his serious and chronic medical conditions. Back in March 2019, Robinson came forward to law enforcement and offered to work in an undercover capacity to expose embezzlement and corruption by the highest leaders of the UAW. Robinson’s proactive cooperation assisted the government in securing the convictions of two former UAW Presidents, Gary Jones and Dennis Williams, and UAW Board member and Regional Director Vance Pearson.
As part of his sentence, and pending a possible final restitution hearing, the Court directed Robinson to pay the UAW $300,000 in restitution based on his involvement in the embezzlement conspiracy. In addition, the Court ordered Robinson to pay $42,000 in restitution to the IRS based on his failure to pay taxes.
U.S. Attorney Schneider commended the outstanding work of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Labor-Management Standards and Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in conducting a comprehensive criminal investigation into labor corruption activities involving a vital sector of the local and national economy.
“The Court’s sentence today demonstrates that individuals who accept responsibility and engage in extraordinary and significant efforts to aid in the investigation of criminal activity will receive a reduced sentence,” said United States Attorney Matthew Schneider. “The Court’s sentence also ensures that full restitution will be paid to the UAW and its membership for Robinson’s criminal activity.”
“Robinson conspired with senior union officials to embezzle UAW funds in order to personally enrich himself at the expense of the hard-working men and women of the UAW. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate corrupt union officials who violate their duty to the members they represent for personal gain,” stated Irene Lindow, Special Agent-in-Charge, Chicago Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.
"Today's sentencing is the next step in a long campaign of restoring the UAW to its core purpose – working for the rights of its members," said Timothy Waters, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Detroit. "To his credit, Mr. Robinson took responsibility for the damage his actions caused to the UAW and worked to correct them. The sentence today reflects that but should not overshadow the seriousness of his conduct."
“IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to investigating anyone who intentionally conceals income from the IRS,” stated Sarah Kull, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Detroit Field Office.
“Edward Robinson betrayed the trust of his fellow union members and failed in his fiduciary duties by using his union position to carry out elaborate embezzlement schemes to steal over $250,000 from the UAW for the personal benefit of himself and other high-ranking union officers,” said Thomas Murray, District Director, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards. “Today's conviction leaves no question as to the agency’s commitment to seek justice when anyone puts personal financial gain ahead of the best interests of their fellow union members.”
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David A. Gardey, Steven Cares, and Adriana Dydell.