Busted: Former FCA Analyst Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Automotive conspiracies are all the rage right now. However, my current favorite is the cooperative machinations between Fiat Chrysler employees and UAW representatives to embezzle millions from a joint training fund.

On Tuesday, former FCA financial analyst Jerome Durden entered a guilty plea at a hearing in federal courtroom in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Durden aims to cooperate with prosecutors (in exchange for a reduced sentence) as they build their case against other conspirators — specifically Alfons Iacobelli, FCA’s former head of labor relations, and Monica Morgan, widow of General Holiefield, the UAW’s former head of its Chrysler division.

The pair are alleged to have the siphoned over a million dollars from the FCA-UAW Joint Training Center between 2009 and 2014, blowing the majority of it on home expansions, fancy cars, first-class plane tickets, and extravagant baubles. Meanwhile, Durden was caught failing to file a tax return for the approximately $4,000 he received in 2013. Oh, and for conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government.

Durden was controller of the training center from 2008 to 2015. He was also employed by FCA as a member of the company’s corporate accounting department. Fiat Chrysler fired him after corruption allegations surfaced in June of 2015.

According to Automotive News, Durden faces a maximum of 37 months in federal prison when he is sentenced on December 12th in Ann Arbor’s U.S. District Court. The majority of that time is due to the conspiracy charge and not the misdemeanor tax snafu. He entered his guilty plea on Tuesday morning to Judge John Corbett O’Meara.

The stolen training funds were supposedly used to pay for new carpeting at Durden’s home. Granted a $10,000 unsecured bond on Friday, he remains free pending sentencing and completion of a pre-sentence report by the court.

A September 25th trial date has been set for Iacobelli and Morgan. Having died in 2015 after a year-long battle pancreatic cancer in 2015, Holiefield will obviously not be on trial. As his widow, Morgan will be facing the brunt of the wrath stemming from the IRS and FBI’s joint investigation.

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Cdotson Cdotson on Aug 08, 2017

    Any relation to Tyler? At least he didn't conceal injury liability information from the general public while blackmailing FCA to obtain the funds. He could have used those proceeds to construct instruments of terror to obliterate the financial records of which I am sure his prosecution is making much use.

  • Jalop1991 Jalop1991 on Aug 08, 2017

    Weren't we having a union discussion just the other day here? And the argument was, workers need unions and union management to ensure that the workers...what was that again? How is it that unions help the workers? Sure enough the unions--the union management--helps itself.

    • Mikey Mikey on Aug 09, 2017

      "FCA Financial analyst Jerome Durden entered a guilty plea"...(management employee) .Cooperative machinations between Fiat Chrysler employees and UAW Representatives "(management &Union) "Alfons Iacobelli former head of labour relations" (management ) As was pointed out to me the other day, being that I spent my life time as a former UAW / CAW member. I must be illiterate . My poor reading comprehension skills have led me to believe that this news story involved more than just UAW Reps An uneducated fool like me always believed that the word conspiracy meant more than one party "conspiring.

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