NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The U.S. Department of Labor has sued defunct SEI Environmental Inc. and its president, Wiley McAllen Finley, to force the repayment of employee contributions totaling $10,717 that the suit alleges were not forwarded to the environmental consulting company’s 401(k) plan in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
An investigation by the Atlanta Regional Office of the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration revealed that the funds were commingled with the general assets of the company instead of put toward the future retirement of the company’s workers, as intended.
The department also alleges that the defendants owe the retirement plan lost interest and opportunity costs, as $117,274 in employee contributions were delayed in being deposited to the plan between January 2007 and December 2008.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division by the department’s Atlanta Regional Solicitor’s Office, the lawsuit indicates that the plan contained $218,328 in assets as of April 2010.
The department has asked that the court order the defendants to restore all plan losses, set off individual plan accounts of the defendants against the amount of losses and prohibit the defendants from serving in the future as fiduciaries of any plan subject to ERISA. The suit also seeks the appointment of an independent fiduciary at the defendants’ expense to arrange for termination of the plan and distribution of its assets.
“These employees put aside some of their current wages for their future retirement security, and the defendants had no right to subvert this effort and use those funds for other purposes,” said Isabel Colon, EBSA’s acting regional director in Atlanta.
SEI Environmental Inc. provided consulting services at its office on Grandview Avenue in Nashville until it ceased operations in 2008.
Employers and workers can contact EBSA at 404-302-3900 or toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems relating to private sector retirement and health plans. For more information, visit www.dol.gov/ebsa.
Solis v. SEI Environmental Inc.
Civil Action File Number 3:11-cv-00708
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.