Fiduciaries to Pay $485K for Failing to Forward Payroll Deductions

The DOL sued retirement plan fiduciaries in Connecticut for failing to forward contributions and loan repayments withheld from participants’ paychecks as required by ERISA.

A court judgment received by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) orders retirement plan fiduciaries to restore $485,560.77 to plan participants.

In 1984, Fletcher-Thompson, Inc., an architectural, engineering and interior design firm headquartered in Bridgeport, Connecticut, established The Fletcher-Thompson Savings Plan to provide retirement benefits for its employees. An investigation by the DOL’s Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) found that, beginning in 2008, the company became delinquent in remitting employee deferrals and loan repayments to the plan. The company ceased remitting anything at all to the plan as of May, 2012. Nevertheless, it continued to withhold contributions and loan repayments from participants’ pay.

The total amount outstanding, including lost interest, is $485,560.77, the DOL says. It filed a complaint in U.S. District Court against plan fiduciaries on June 9, 2014.

Defendants Fletcher-Thompson, Inc. Savings Plan and Michael S. Marcinek, in their capacities as fiduciaries of the Fletcher-Thompson Inc. Savings Plan, agreed to enter into a consent judgment. The judgment orders them to restore the $485,560.77 to the plan in installments of no less than $40,463.40 per month for 12 months, ensure that non-fiduciary plan participants receive the share to which they are entitled and provide a full accounting to the EBSA each month. The order also prohibits Marcinek from ever again serving as a fiduciary to an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)-covered benefit plan.

According to the consent judgment, in connection with the resolution of this matter, the DOL will assess a penalty pursuant to ERISA §502(l) of 20% of the “applicable recovery amount”—$485,560.77. The defendants agree to pay the penalty except to the extent that they seek and are granted a waiver in the Secretary of Labor’s sole discretion.