EBSA News Release: November 16, 2010
U.S. Labor Department sues Albuquerque, NM, engineering company and its president to recover employee contributions owed to 401(k) plan
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The U.S. Department of Labor has sued Hensley Engineering Group LLC of Albuquerque and its president, Lisa Hensley, for misusing assets of $48,528.30 in employee contributions owed to the company's 401(k) plan to benefit themselves.
The department's lawsuit alleges that Hensley and the company violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when they failed to remit employee contributions to the plan between June and December 2007, used plan assets for their own benefit, failed to segregate plan assets from those of the company, and failed to properly administer the plan. The employee contributions have never been deposited into the plan. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.
As relief, the suit seeks a court order to require the defendants to repay to the plan all losses with interest, correct any transactions prohibited by law, bar the defendants from serving in a fiduciary capacity to any plan governed by ERISA and, if necessary, offset any claims or benefits owed to Lisa Hensley against losses by the plan. In addition, the department's suit asks the court to appoint an independent fiduciary to manage the plan and process appropriate account distributions.
"Corporations and their executives have a duty to ensure that the assets of 401(k) plans are used solely to benefit participants. One of the most important responsibilities in this regard is putting money from workers' wages into their 401(k) accounts," said Roger Hilburn, director of the Dallas Regional Office of the department's Employee Benefits Security Administration.
Hensley Engineering Group handles civil, mechanical and electrical engineering projects.
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 Dallas office at 972.850.4500 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. Hensley Engineering Group LLC
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