N.C. Company Owner Fined in 401(k) Embezzlement Case

The owner of defunct Concord, North Carolina, sign firm has been ordered by a federal judge to pay $57,089 to the company’s 401(k) and health plans.

He was also sentenced to five years of supervised release.

According to a Department of Labor (DoL) news release, Mitchell Messer, majority owner and president of Wesco Signs Inc., also must perform 416 hours of community service.

Messer was indicted by a federal grand jury August 26, 2008, on two counts of embezzling assets from employee benefit plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The indictment charged Messer with embezzlement of $19,286.21 in 401(k) assets and $5,583.38 in health care premiums.

According to the allegations, from February 4 through June 17, 2005, he failed to forward retirement plan contributions deducted from employees’ paychecks and also did not forward health care premiums withheld from employee wages from July 11 to November 4, 2005.