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News Release

Labor Department Obtains Summary Judgment Against Virginia Firm And Owner Over Misuse of 401(k) and Health Plan Assets

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Labor obtained summary judgment on January 10 in federal district court in Alexandria, Virginia, requiring bankrupt Direct Press Modern Litho, Inc. of Fredericksburg, Virginia to pay $190,384, including interest, to the company’s 401(k) and health plans. A separate judgment entered by the court on November 12, holds the company’s owner, Jose Pizzini of Warrenton, Virginia, personally liable for the amounts.

The court further ordered that the company and Pizzini be removed as fiduciaries and appointed J.M. Pension Advisory, Inc. of Olney, Maryland to manage the 401(k) plan. Direct Press and Pizzini were also permanently barred from serving as fiduciaries to any employee benefit plan covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

“This action reaffirms our commitment to protecting the hard-earned benefits promised by employers,” said Mabel Capolongo, director of the Philadelphia Regional Office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), formerly known as the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration.

Direct Press was a Fredericksburg, Virginia based printing company that operated in at least 10 locations throughout the country. According to reports filed by the company, the 401(k) plan had 120 participants and assets of $1,164,678 as of December 31, 1999. Approximately the same number of employees participated in the company’s health plan.

According to the department’s suit filed in June 2002, Direct Press and Jose Pizzini violated ERISA by failing to deposit employee contributions into the 401(k) and health plans at various times from 1999 through 2001. The company and Pizzini both filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on February 26, 2002. The department obtained a consent order in September 2002, prohibiting Pizzini from discharging any debt for amounts he owes to the plans.

Employers with similar problems, who are not yet the subject of an investigation by PWBA, 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

The lawsuit and judgment resulted following an investigation conducted by the Washington, D.C. district office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration. Employers and workers can contact the district office at 301.713.2000, or call the EBSA’s national toll free number, 1.866.444-EBSA (3272), for help with problems relating to private-sector pension and health plans.

(Chao v. Pizzini) Civil Action No. 02-785-A
(Re:Pizzini) Civil Action No. 02-80866-RGM

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

Employee Benefits Security Administration
February 6, 2003
Release Number