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News Release

Executive To Make Restitution To Profit Sharing Plan

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

The U. S. Department of Labor today has obtained a settlement agreement requiring an owner of now-defunct Home Electric Service, Inc. of Lake Worth, Fla. to make restitution of $30,000 to the company’s profit sharing plan and appointing an independent manager to oversee the plan.

Under the terms of the settlement, defendant Andrew C. Atkins Jr. shall forfeit his right to plan benefits in order to satisfy the restitution ordered by the court. In addition, the court order gives the independent fiduciary, Michael E. Kamel, CPA, the authority to terminate the plan and to distribute the assets to participants if necessary.

The profit sharing plan provided retirement, death and disability to some 9 employees of the company. The plan had $100,927 in assets as of Dec. 31, 1994.

In its lawsuit, the department named as defendants Andrew C. Atkins Jr. and his wife Michele P. Atkins. Andrew Atkins was a trustee of the profit sharing plan and an officer of the company at the time of the improper investments. His wife was named because she was a party in interest.

According to the lawsuit, Andrew C. Atkins Jr. violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) when he made a series of loans totaling $220,605 to Aranda Builders, Inc., a company owned by one of Atkins’s partners in another real estate venture. Andrew Atkins and Michael Aranda were officers and directors of Summerwinds Homes, Inc.

The plan loans were used to purchase a subdivision in Jupiter, Fla. The property, titled in the names of Atkins, Aranda and their wives, was foreclosed on by the Great Southern Bank after they defaulted on the loan.

The lawsuit was filed on March 6 in federal district court in West Palm Beach, Fla. The settlement agreement was entered on March 16. This case resulted from an investigation conducted by the Miami District Office of the department’s Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA). PWBA enforces the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

(Herman v. Atkins)
Civil Action No. 98-8145-CIV-Middlebrooks

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Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Phone Number: 202.219.8921

Employee Benefits Security Administration
March 16, 1998
Release Number
USDL: 98-41