Release Date: January 18, 2008
U.S. Department of Labor obtains order requiring restoration of more than $500,000 to Georgia Plumbers Trade Association Health Plan
Atlanta – The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment and order in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia requiring Marc Meixner to restore $509,624 to the Georgia Plumbers Trade Association Health Plan.
Defendant Meixner operated GPTA Benefits Group Inc., a company that acted as the marketer and administrator of the health plan, which served 28 employer groups with 500 participants in Georgia. When the plan was terminated in 2004, participants were left with more than $500,000 in unpaid claims.
“The law prohibits those entrusted with employee benefit assets from misusing those funds,” said Bradford P. Campbell, assistant secretary of the Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).
The consent judgment settles a department lawsuit against Meixner alleging that he violated his fiduciary responsibilities under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The judgment also bars him from future service as a fiduciary to any plan covered by ERISA.
In 2007, the Labor Department sued Meixner, GPTA Benefits Group Inc., affiliate Employers OneSource Inc., Leslie E. Smith and David Sherman. The defendants allegedly failed to properly evaluate and underwrite benefits, failed to adjust rates and benefits to pay promised benefits, failed to adequately fund claims owed by the plan, and paid excessive fees for services provided to the health plan. They also were alleged to have improperly dealt with the plan’s assets and received compensation for their personal benefit. The suit against the remaining defendants is ongoing.
The sponsor of the plan, Georgia Plumbers Trade Association for Continuing Education Inc., remains in business. The association is a nonprofit organization that provides education and resources to assist Georgia plumbers in complying with building code changes. GPTA Benefits Group Inc. is no longer in business.
The case was investigated by EBSA’s Atlanta Regional Office, which can be reached at 404.302.3900 or toll-free at 1.866.444.EBSA (3272) for help with problems relating to private sector retirement and health plans. In fiscal year 2007, EBSA achieved monetary results of $1.5 billion related to pension, 401(k), health and other benefits for millions of American workers and their families.
(Chao v. Marc Meixner)
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