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News Release

U.S. Labor Department Files Complaint In Bankruptcy Action To Recoup Pension Assets For Austin Miller Workers

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Kansas City, Missouri - The U.S. Department of Labor has filed an adversary complaint in the bankruptcy action of the owner of now defunct Austin Miller, Inc. of Wichita, Kansas. The action, filed on March 10, seeks to prevent Timothy Ray Austin from seeking bankruptcy relief to avoid paying more than $7,000 owed to employees who were participants in the company’s SIMPLE IRA plan.

“This lawsuit underscores the Labor Department’s commitment to hold accountable those who are entrusted with the assets of workers’ retirement plans,” said Gregory Egan, director of the Kansas City regional office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), which investigated the case.

Austin Miller, Inc. was an engineering company that ceased doing business in October 2002. Timothy Ray Austin subsequently filed for personal bankruptcy.

The adversary complaint was filed in U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas in Wichita. It alleges that Austin, who was the owner and president of Austin Miller, Inc. and fiduciary of the plan, violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by failing to remit employees’ contributions to the plan. The funds had been withheld from employees’ paychecks from November 2001 through September 2002.

Egan 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 Kansas City Regional Office at 816.426.5131 or EBSA’s toll free number, 1.866.444.EBSA (3272), for help with problems relating to private-sector pension and health plans.

(Chao v. Timothy Ray Austin
Civil Action No. 03-5104)

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Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
March 11, 2003
Release Number