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Detroit — Former United Auto Workers President Gary Jones will be arraigned on embezzlement, racketeering and a tax charges Thursday following repeated delays in the criminal case against one of the top targets of a years-long corruption scandal.

The video arraignment is expected around 1 p.m. Thursday and will be handled via Zoom. Jones is expected to appear remotely along with defense lawyer Bruce Maffeo, an appearance long delayed because of the COVID-19 outbreak that has largely shuttered federal court operations.

The court hearing moves the government a step closer to securing the conviction of the highest-ranking UAW official charged in a racketeering scandal that has led to 13 convictions. 

On June 3, Jones is expected to plead guilty to helping embezzle more than $1 million, some of which was spent on private villas in California, expensive dinners, liquor, golf and more, prosecutors said.

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Tour golf courses and resorts frequented by UAW officials in Palm Springs, Calif., where the union has spent more than $1 million in recent years. The Detroit News

Jones is facing two charges, each of which could send him to prison for up to five years. The charges are conspiracy to embezzle union funds and using a facility of interstate commerce to aid racketeering activity, and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by evading income taxes.

He is accused of helping orchestrate a nine-year embezzlement conspiracy that started in 2010.

Since August, federal agents have raided his home, searched his bank accounts, seized more than $32,000 and portrayed him as a thief who tried to cover up crimes and obstruct investigators, according to court records that identified him by the alias "UAW Official A."

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The plea hearing will reveal how much time Jones could spend in prison. His plea agreement will include a recommended sentence and an advisory guideline range, though Detroit U.S. District Judge Paul Borman has wide discretion in issuing a prison sentence.

rsnell@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @robertsnellnews 

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