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US Labor Department obtains court judgment against executive of Oklahoma aircraft manufacturer for misuse of employee benefit plan premiums
ALTUS, Okla. – The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment and order permanently barring the owner of defunct Quartz Mountain Aerospace Inc., which operated in Altus as well as in Coffeeville, Kan., from serving in a fiduciary capacity to any employee benefit plan unless he obtains fiduciary training by Jan. 31, 2012.
Under the judgment, owner Mark A. Arciero must obtain at least 12 hours of training on the duties of fiduciaries and trustees to plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. He also must provide proof to the Labor Department that he has completed this fiduciary training with a nationally recognized organization. Additionally, he is enjoined from committing further ERISA violations. The judgment was entered in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma-Oklahoma City Division.
The department sued Arciero for allegedly failing to remit employee premiums to the plan for the period of Aug. 8, 2008, through Nov. 15, 2008, to segregate plan assets from those of the company, and to hold those assets in trust as required by ERISA.
“Corporate executives have a duty to properly manage plans in a way that benefits employees. Our legal action removes the defendant from oversight of plans unless he obtains appropriate fiduciary training,” said Roger Hilburn, director of the Dallas Regional Office of the Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration. “This case demonstrates our commitment to take legal action to protect the hard-earned benefits of workers.”
Quartz Mountain Aerospace sponsored the welfare plan to provide health, dental, short-term disability and life insurance coverage for its employees. The company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Oct. 29, 2009. There were 87 participants whose premiums were not forwarded to the plan’s insurance carriers.
This case is part of EBSA’s national enforcement initiative to safeguard workers’ contributions to 401(k) and health benefit plans. The department’s legal action resulted from an investigation by EBSA’s Dallas Regional Office and was litigated by the department’s regional solicitor in Dallas. Employers and workers can reach EBSA’s Dallas office at 972-850-4500 or toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems relating to private sector retirement and health plans. Additional information can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa.
Solis v. Mark A. Arciero
Civil Action No. 5:10-cv-01197-D
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