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News Release

Canoga Park Businessman Sentenced To Prison For Embezzling From Employee Pension Fund

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

United States Attorney Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced December 15 that Russell Crawford, the former owner of Valley Building Materials Company, was sentenced to six months in prison for embezzling over $700,000 from employee pension plans. In June, Crawford pleaded guilty to two counts of embezzlement from an employee pension plan, two counts of filing false ERISA documents that concealed the embezzlement and one count of loan fraud. Crawford, 73, of Canoga Park, ran Valley Building Materials Company, a manufacturer and installer of custom windows and doors, until August of 1995 when the company declared bankruptcy.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Barbara Scheper, who is handling the case, Crawford admitted that he drained Valley Building Materials' profit sharing plan and defined benefit plan of all the plans' assets, totaling over $700,000. Crawford then concealed the embezzlement in documents required to be filed with the Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service.

Citing the serious nature of Crawford's crimes and the devastating effects on Crawford's former employees, United States District Court Judge Dean D. Pregerson rejected Crawford's plea for probation and sentenced Crawford to six months in prison to be followed by a term of supervised release of five years. As a term of his supervised release, Crawford was ordered to spend ten months in home confinement. In addition, Crawford may not be employed in any capacity in which he has custody of an employer's funds without the prior permission of the employer. Crawford was ordered to pay nominal restitution to the victims of his fraud because it was found that he did not have the present or future ability to pay.

The case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration of the Department of Labor and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

U.S. v. Crawford
Criminal Action #99-17-DDP

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: Mike Shimizu
Phone Number: 206. 553.7620 Phone Number:
Contact Name: Barbara Scheper
213) 894-0709

Employee Benefits Security Administration
December 20, 1999
Release Number