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Employee Benefits Security Administration

News Release

EBSA News Release: December 10, 2010
Contact Name: John M. Chavez
Phone Number: 617-565-2075
Release Number: 10-1678-BOS/BOS 2010-492

US Labor Department sues trustee and sponsor of Phillipston, Mass.,
company’s 401(k) plan, seeks restoration of misused assets

WORCESTER, Mass. – The U.S. Department of Labor has sued Christopher Wong and his company, Wong’s Motor Corp. of Phillipston, Mass., for allegedly violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by using employees’ 401 (k) plan contributions for the benefit of the company.

The company, which formerly operated as Athol Ford and Mercury, was the sponsor and administrator of the plan, and Christopher Wong served as the plan’s trustee. The Labor Department’s lawsuit, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Worcester, alleges that the defendants failed to forward to the plan contributions withheld from employees’ paychecks between Jan. 5 and Oct. 12, 2007. In total, the defendants collected $21,057 in employee contributions that were not forwarded to the plan account.

“The defendants used this money to satisfy the obligations of the company, which is a clear violation of the law,” said Edward Maloney, acting regional director of the Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration in Boston, Mass. “The trustee of a retirement plan has a duty to ensure that the assets of the plan are used solely to benefit the plan’s participants.”

As relief, the department’s suit asks the court to permanently prohibit Wong from serving as a fiduciary to any ERISA-covered plan and to require that the defendants restore to the plan all losses resulting from their fiduciary breaches, plus interest.

The case was investigated by EBSA’s Boston Regional Office. Employers and workers can contact EBSA at 617-565-9600 or toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with any problems relating to private sector pension and health plans. Additional information can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa.

Solis v. Christopher Wong
Civil Action Number: 4:10-CV-40197

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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.