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U.S. Labor Department obtains appointment of independent fiduciary for abandoned 401(k) plan of defunct Bennington, Vt., company
Boston - The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a federal court order appointing an independent fiduciary to manage the abandoned 401(k) plan of The Law Centers for Consumer Protection, a Bennington, Vt., company that ceased operations in 2003.
The consent judgment and order, entered in the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, appointed Northeast Retirement Services Inc. of Woburn, Mass., to serve as the independent fiduciary of The Law Centers for Consumer Protection 401(k) Profit Sharing Plan. Northeast Retirement Services will administer the plan, distribute the assets to eligible participants and beneficiaries, and then terminate the plan.
The Labor Department filed a lawsuit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the federal law that protects private sector employee pension and benefit plans. The suit alleged that the company's former owners, Andrew F. Capoccia and Howard Sinnott, abandoned their fiduciary responsibilities to the plan after becoming convicted and confessed felons in 2005. As a result, the defendants were legally barred from having responsibility for any ERISA-covered plan.
The 25 former employees of the company were left unable to access their plan accounts due to the lack of a fiduciary to administer the retirement plan. As of Aug. 29, 2008, the plan had approximately $12,940 in assets held in trust by State Street Bank & Trust Company.
"I am very pleased that we were able to resolve this matter to the benefit of the remaining participants of this 401(k) plan," said Jean Ackerman, regional director in Boston for the Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). "We took this legal action to ensure that the plan is properly managed so that its participants finally can gain access to their retirement assets."
This case was investigated by EBSA's Boston Regional Office. Employers and workers seeking help with problems relating to private sector pension and health plans can reach the Boston office at 617-565-9600 or the agency toll-free at 866-444-3272. In fiscal year 2009, EBSA achieved monetary results of $1.3 billion related to pension, 401(k), health and other benefits for millions of American workers and their families. Additional information can be found at www.dol.gov/ebsa.
Solis v. The Law Centers for Consumer Protection
Civil Action Number: 1:09-CV-00261-JGM
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