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Employee Benefits Security Administration

News Release

EBSA News Release: November 16, 2010
Contact Name: Elizabeth Todd or Juan Rodriguez
Phone Number: 972-850-4710/972-850-4709
Release Number: 10-1594-DAL

U.S. Labor Department sues executive of Austin, Texas, veterinary clinic over misuse of 401(k) profit sharing plan assets

AUSTIN, Texas - The U.S. Department of Labor sued the chief financial officer and husband of the owner of bankrupt TLS Vets P.A., located in Austin, for misusing 401(k) profit sharing assets to benefit himself and the veterinary clinic.

A lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas-Austin Division, alleges Tal Shohamy violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to remit employee contributions and plan assets to the plan for the period of May through October 2008. He also allegedly failed to segregate plan assets from those of the company, to hold those assets in trust to pay promised benefits and to properly administer the plan. The defendant allegedly transferred the assets to benefit the company, causing the 401(k) plan to suffer financial losses.

In its suit, the department asks the court order to require that Shohamy restore to the plan all losses with interest, correct all transactions prohibited by law, be permanently barred from serving in a fiduciary capacity to any plan governed by ERISA in the future and, if necessary, offset any claims or benefits owed to the defendant against losses by the plan. In addition, the suit asks the court to appoint an independent fiduciary to disburse assets recovered for the plan and properly terminate the plan.

"This case demonstrates our commitment to take legal action to protect the hard-earned benefits of workers," said Roger Hilburn, director of the Dallas Regional Office of the Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration, which investigated the case.

TLS Vets is a veterinary clinic that operates as White Angel Animal Hospital. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jan. 20, 2009.

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. Tal Shohamy

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