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News Release

Waterport, New York, Man Pleads Guilty To Federal Criminal Charges Regarding The Misuse Of Employee Pension Funds

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

William David Dickinson of Waterport, New York, has agreed to plead guilty to a one count criminal information regarding the misuse of employee pension funds in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor.

According to James Benages, regional director for the Labor Department’s Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration in Boston, Dickinson was president of Geoguard Corporation of Medina, New York. He also served as administrator of the company’s 401(k) pension plan. From May 1996 through October 1997, Dickinson knowingly failed to transmit $25,276.06 in employee 401(k) plan contributions to the corporation’s pension plan, and instead used the money for other business purposes. As a result of these actions, he also failed to comply with reporting and disclosure requirements under ERISA.

Under the plea agreement negotiated by the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, Dickinson faces a maximum possible sentence of one year in prison, a fine of $100,000, or both, as well as a term of supervised release of up to one year. Sentencing is scheduled for December 14, 1999, in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York. The plea agreement also requires Dickinson to make restitution to the employee pension plan of $4,579.05, which represents the total interest that the withheld 401(k) employee contributions would have earned had they been properly remitted to the plan.

Benages noted that ERISA governs the administration of several types of employee benefit plans, including pension plans, 401(k) plans, and health insurance plans. Said Benages, “The law has very strict requirements governing the administration of employee benefit plan funds. It is unthinkable that an employer would deduct 401(k) contributions from employee paychecks and then use that money for their own purposes rather than depositing it into the pension plan. Needless to say, this type of criminal behavior can not and will not be tolerated.”

The plea agreement was signed by Dickinson on September 13, 1999. Benages indicated that the criminal prosecution of the defendant was initiated as the result of an investigation conducted by the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration office headquartered in Boston, Mass.

U.S. Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the Internet. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the Central Office for Assistive Services and Technology. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202.693.7773 or TTY 202.693.7755.

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

Contact Name: John M. Chavez
Phone Number: 617.565.2075

Employee Benefits Security Administration
September 15, 1999
Release Number