EBSA News Release: November 16, 2010
U.S. Labor Department sues Charleston, SC, heating and air conditioning company to restore more than $44,000 in retirement plan losses
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The U.S. Department of Labor has sued Charleston, S.C.-based Wappoo Service Heating and Air Conditioning and its president, Perry Miles, to restore $44,250.34 in losses suffered by participants and beneficiaries of the company's savings incentive match plan for employees individual retirement account, or SIMPLE IRA plan. The lawsuit followed an investigation by the department's Employee Benefits Security Administration into alleged violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
The suit alleges that between January 2007 and May 2009, the defendants withheld $38,749.99 in employee contributions but never forwarded the money to the plan. As a result, the plan incurred additional losses of $5,500.35 in lost earnings and opportunity costs.
"Employees made their contributions in good faith and expected that the funds would be available to provide benefits at retirement. We are committed to protecting workers' rights under federal law," said R.C. Marshall, EBSA's regional director in Atlanta, Ga.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for South Carolina-Columbia Division, the suit asks the court to order the defendants to restore all losses including lost earnings and opportunity costs, and to return any funds unjustly received by them.
The department is asking the court to require that any claims by the defendants to plan assets be offset against the losses owed to the plan, to permanently bar them from serving in a fiduciary capacity to any employee benefit plan subject to ERISA and to appoint an independent fiduciary to oversee the plan.
This case is part of EBSA's employee contribution project to safeguard workers' contributions to 401(k) and health benefit plans. Employers and workers can reach EBSA's Atlanta Regional Office at 404.302.3900 or toll-free at 866.444.3272 for help with problems relating to private sector retirement and health plans. Additional information can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa.
Solis v. Perry Miles
# # #
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202.693.7828 or TTY 202.693.7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit http://www.dol.gov/compliance.