DETROIT -- Former UAW official Jeffery Pietrzyk, accused of receiving $123,000 through an alleged conspiracy, will appear for arraignment and is expected to plead guilty Oct. 22 in federal court in Detroit, a U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman said Monday.
Pietrzyk, who was an assistant to former UAW GM Department Vice President Joe Ashton, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. He is the 11th person charged in the widening investigation of corruption in the UAW.
"Pietrzyk conspired with Michael Grimes and Union Official 1 to devise a scheme to defraud the [UAW-GM Center for Human Resources] and UAW members of their right to honest, faithful, and impartial services," federal prosecutors said in a court filing.
The Detroit News has identified Ashton as Union Official 1.
Pietrzyk's defense attorney, Robert Singer, said in an emailed statement to Automotive News that he will not comment until after Pietrzyk enters his pleas.
"According to the government's allegations in the information, Jeff's involvement in this scheme is much more limited in time and scope than his named and unnamed co-defendants," Singer said in the statement.
Pietrzyk will appear in front of U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
Prosecutors contend Pietrzyk conspired with other union officials to take bribes and kickbacks related to vendor contracts for watches, backpacks, jackets and other items. The charges were the first against a UAW official since the union began its strike against General Motors on Sept. 16.
UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg, in a statement emailed to Automotive News when the charges were filed on Sept. 20, called the charges against Pietrzyk "serious" and said the union has changed its purchasing procedures.
"The charges against Jeff Pietrzyk are serious, and the conduct outlined in his charges is not just illegal, it is an affront to every member of the UAW," he said. "The UAW has already made changes to its purchasing procedures that require three bids and pushed the Joint Program Centers to significantly tighten their accounting controls to prevent this type of criminal activity from happening again. This conduct — which was suspiciously announced in the middle of our current bargaining — must not and will not distract us from negotiating the strongest possible contract for our members."
Michael Martinez contributed to this report.