DETROIT — He plotted to steal up to $1.5 million in union dues, and the money he diverted was spent on golf clubs, vacation homes, booze and lavish meals, fostering a culture of corruption within the United Auto Workers union.

Now former UAW president Gary Jones will have to spend 28 months in a federal prison and repay thousands of dollars for his crimes.

Jones, 64, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Paul Borman in Detroit after pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy last year. Borman ordered that Jones surrender for his term in 90 days and recommended a low-security federal prison in Seagoville, Texas, so he would be close to his wife who now lives near Dallas.

Before sentencing, Jones choked up in the courtroom as he apologized to his family and union members for his actions. "I failed them. I failed the UAW that elected me as president," he told Borman. "All I can say is I'm sorry I let them down, I let my family down."

Federal sentencing guidelines called for Jones to get 46 to 57 months in prison due to his high position in the union. But prosecutors asked for 28 months because Jones accepted responsibility and cooperated as the government went after his cohorts in a wide-ranging probe of union corruption.

"He was willing to assist in any way," Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gardey told the court. "And he was truthful."

Gardey said that in many ways, Jones is a good man who worked in a "culture of corruption," following the crowd of other union leaders who thought they were "entitled to get ours." He said Jones helped with prosecution of Dennis Williams, who preceded Jones as president.

But Gardey also said Jones' crimes were serious and have scarred the union and destroyed members' confidence in their leaders. He recommended that Borman issue a sentence that would let labor unions know that this behavior won't be tolerated.

Eleven union officials and a late official's spouse have pleaded guilty in the corruption probe since 2017, although not all the crimes were connected. The first wave of convictions, which included some Fiat Chrysler employees, involved money from a Fiat Chrysler-UAW training center in Detroit.

But the union was able to hold off a possible government takeover by agreeing to spending controls, a court-appointed monitor to oversee operations for six years, and an election for members to decide if they want to vote directly for union leaders rather than choosing delegates to a convention.

Millions in union dues will now go toward funding the court-appointed monitor, and the UAW had to pay significant attorney's fees for officials who were charged, Gardey wrote in a sentencing memo.

Jones, now of Corsicana, Texas, south of Dallas, also will have to repay $550,000 to the union and another $42,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. But his liability could be lower depending on amounts paid by other defendants, including Williams.

He also was fined $10,000, and he'll have to forfeit more than $151,000, including money in two bank accounts, plus a set of golf clubs seized by authorities at the Missouri regional office where Jones was director before becoming president.

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