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News Release

Former Illinois Executive is Ordered to Restore Employee Contributions to 401(k) Plan

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Chicago, Illinois - The U.S. Department of Labor obtained a consent order and judgment on September 10, ordering Barry Duane Bielema, the former owner of Snyder’s Bulk Plant Service, Inc. of Amboy, Illinois, and trustee of the company’s 401(k) plan, to restore $5,693 to the plan and permanently barring him from serving any employee benefit plan covered by federal pension law.

The judgment, which was entered in the federal district court in Rockford, Illinois, also ordered Bielema to terminate the plan, distribute its assets, and forfeit his rights to his plan account to satisfy the liability.

“This action demonstrates the department’s commitment to protecting the benefits of America’s workers,” said Kenneth Bazar, director of the Chicago regional office of the department’s Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, which investigated the case.

The court action resolves a lawsuit brought by the department in April 2002 against Bielema and his now defunct company. He allegedly withheld approximately $5,000 from employees’ salaries but failed to forward the money and lost opportunity costs to the company’s 401(k) plan between February and June 2001, in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The 401(k) plan was established May 1, 1986, and covered six participants with $279,165 in assets as of April 30, 2000.

Kenneth Bazar noted that employers with similar problems, who are not yet the subject of an investigation by EBSA, may be eligible to participate in the Department’s Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP).

Participation in the VFCP requires employers to make workers whole but allows them to avoid EBSA enforcement actions and civil penalties as well as any applicable excise taxes. For more information about the VFCP see

Employers and workers can contact the regional office at 312.353.0900 or EBSA’s Toll-Free Employee & Employer Hotline number, 1.866.275.7922, for help with problems relating to private-sector pension and health plans.

(Chao v. Bielema
Civil Action No. 02 C 50119)

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Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
October 22, 2002
Release Number