The former president of the United Auto Workers CAP, Edward “Nick” Robinson has pleaded guilty to embezzling over $1 million in union dues to defraud the government by evading taxes from 2010 to September 2019.

Robinson formerly held the position of president of the UAW’s Midwest CAP of Region 5 of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Workers of America.

As part of an ongoing criminal investigation, Robinson admitted that he, along with at least six other senior UAW officials, conspired to embezzle money from the UAW in a multiyear scheme for their own benefit.

Robinson and the other UAW officials conceal personal expenditures by hiding them into the costs of conferences held in Palm Springs, California; Coronado, California; and Missouri.

From 2010 to 2018, fraudulent expense forms seeking reimbursement from the UAW’s Detroit headquarters were submitted, claiming to incur expenses related to the leadership and training conferences. However, the money was spent on lavish entertainment and personal spending.

In one example, the Attorney General’s Office in Detroit cited that Robinson used the UAW money to buy a set of golf clubs, other golf equipment, and individual club participation. The items cost thousands of dollars.

Robinson also spent over $100,000 on golf clothing, shirts, hats, sunglasses, golf balls, jackets, and fashion shorts from various pro shops at golf courses in California and Missouri.

In addition, Robinson spent tens of thousands of dollars in UAW funds at the Indian Canyons golf course in Palm Springs. He used UAW funds for green fees outside UAW conferences. He used more than $60,000 to buy boxes of cigars, humidors, cigar cutting equipment, and lighters from 2014 to 2018, which were also hidden in conference expenses.

August 2019 search warrants recovered dozens of cigars, humidors, and other tobacco-related items in Robinson’s and other UAW officials’ homes as wells as hundreds of high-end bottles of liquor, hundreds of golf shirts, multiple sets of golf clubs, and over $30,000 in cash.

Robinson was also writing fraudulent checks in excess of $500,000 from the UAW Midwest CAP account. The checks were turned into cash, which Robinson kept some of the money for himself and shared some with other UAW officials. He also spent the money on personal expenses for himself and other officials.

Robinson faces a maximum of five years in prison for the crimes and a fine of up to $250,000. He has agreed to pay $42,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service on his own personal taxes. Additional restitution will be determined at the time of sentencing.

“Our office will never tolerate the abuse of union funds for the benefit of corrupt union officials,” United States Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement. “We will continue our work until the men and women of the UAW have confidence that their union leadership is serving and advancing their interests — instead of the personal interests of union bosses.”

The UAW Midwest CAP is one of the UAW’s Community Action Program Councils supported through member dues. Tens of thousands of UAW members in Missouri and 16 states southwest including Texas and California are part of the Region 5 UAW.

Robinson is the 13th person to plead guilty in connection with the ongoing criminal investigation into corruption at the UAW.

The United Auto Workers sign is pictured on Solidarity House in Detroit, Michigan last month
The United Auto Workers sign is pictured on Solidarity House in Detroit, Michigan last month AFP / JEFF KOWALSKY