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News Release

Labor Department Sues Trustees of Bronx, New York Carpenters Benefit Plans Over Misuse of Plan Assets

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Bronx, New York - The U.S. Department of Labor filed a lawsuit on March 27, 2003 against the trustees of the pension and welfare plans of Local 2682 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, of Bronx, New York, for improperly using plan assets to pay unreasonable expenses in excess of $900,000.
“Abuse of plan assets jeopardizes benefits of American workers and their families,” said Francis Clisham, Director of the New York Regional Office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration. “The department will aggressively enforce the law to protect benefit promises.”

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are current and former trustees Anthony Prezioso, Joseph Cruz, Manuel Dos Santos, Edward Orlando, and Mark Goldsmith, Local 2682 Building Corp. and Local 2682 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Prezioso was the plan administrator. Cruz was a trustee of the Local 2682 pension and welfare plans and president of Local 2682.

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, alleges that the trustees violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by paying Local 2682 an unreasonable amount for services unnecessary or not provided to the plans. The suit also alleges that the trustees failed to terminate a loan of pension plan assets to the Building Corporation, which is owned by the trustees; used the plan assets to pay the salary of a “no show” employee; overcharged the plans for rent and expenses for space in the building housing the funds and the union local; and paid to lease a car used in part for business unrelated to the plans by plan administrator Anthony Prezioso.

The department is seeking to require that the defendants reimburse the plans for losses in excess of $900,000 with interest, to permanently bar Cruz from serving employee benefit plans in the future, to correct any prohibited transactions with the plans, and to offset the defendants’ pension benefits to repay money owed to the pension plan.

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, civil penalties and any applicable excise taxes. For more information see

Employers and workers can reach the New York regional office at 212.607.8600 or EBSA’s toll free number, 1.866.444.EBSA (3272), for help with problems relating to private-sector pension and health plans.

The case was investigated the New York Regional Office of the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Chao v Local 2682 United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America
Civil Action No. 03-CV-2160

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

Employee Benefits Security Administration
March 28, 2003
Release Number
BOS 2003-053