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Employee Benefits Security Administration

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Media Release

Release Date: 02/23/2001
Release Number: 02
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey

Phone Number: 202.219.8921

St. Louis-Based Pension Plan Businessman and Company Place on Probation, Fined for Embezzling 401(k) Funds

A St. Louis businessman and former trustee of the Woodson Products Company 401(k) Plan was sentenced February 16 to three years probation, including four months of home confinement, and fined $40,000. In addition, Woodson Products Company, L.L.C.was placed on two years probation and fined $75,000.

Defendant R. Taylor Matthews, Jr., former manager of Woodson Products, pleaded guilty on November 22, 2000, to embezzling $1,048,000 from the 401(k) plan in 1999. Woodson Products also entered a guilty plea for the same offense.

According to the plea agreement, Matthews received checks, totaling $1,048,000 from the trustee of the 401(k) plan sponsored by Woodson Products Company, Inc., predecessor company of Woodson Products. The checks represented funds which were to be rolled over from the predecessor's plan to the new plan sponsored by Woodson Products. Instead of depositing the checks in the new plan, Matthews put them in the company's operating account and subsequently used the funds to pay expenses of Woodson Products or affiliated companies or for his personal benefit.

During the course of the U.S. Department of Labor's investigation, Mathews restored the money to the plan and paid $149,113 in lost earnings. The investigation was conducted by the St. Louis District Office of the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Missouri.

(U.S. v. Matthews
Criminal Action No. 4:00CR528SNL)

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Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.