US Labor Dept. investigation led to restitution for workers
LOS ANGELES - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has announced that Joseph Wong, owner and president of the Pasadena, Calif.-based Amadeus Salon Inc., a chain of health and beauty spas, has been sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to two years probation for embezzling nearly $90,000 from the salon’s 401(k) profit sharing plan. The terms of Wong’s probation include three months confinement at a community corrections center and six months in a home detention program.
“This sentencing shows that the Labor Department and its federal partners in law enforcement are committed to ensuring that justice is served for those who steal from their workers,” said Crisanta Johnson, director of EBSA’s Los Angeles Regional Office. “We continue to aggressively investigate those who prey on plan participants and their beneficiaries through our Contributory Plans Criminal Project. We are pleased that in this case restitution of nearly the full amount of the embezzlement has been achieved on behalf of the company’s workers.”
From approximately early 2005 to July 2008, Wong embezzled employee retirement plan contributions in the amount of $89,462.53. The contributions were withheld from worker paychecks on a bi-weekly basis, but not forwarded to the retirement plan. The money was instead used to run the business. Wong was indicted and arrested in September 2010. He pleaded guilty April 12, 2011.
Prior to sentencing, Wong restored nearly $90,000 to the retirement plan.
The case against Wong was investigated by the EBSA office in Los Angeles with assistance from the Labor Department’s Office of the Inspector General. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen W. Chiu.
For help with problems related to private sector retirement and health plans, employers and workers can reach EBSA’s Los Angeles office at 626-229-1000 or toll-free at 866-444-3272. Additional information can be found at www.dol.gov/ebsa.
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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.