News Brief

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Labor Department files suit against Steven J. Watkins and Oxford Holdings Inc. alleging that they kept employees' contributions to retirement plan

Date of action: Aug. 7, 2015

Type of action: Complaint

Name(s) of defendant(s): Steven J. Watkins, Oxford Holdings Inc., and Aetna 401(k) Plan

Allegations: On Jan 1, 2007, Oxford Holding Inc., a former construction company based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, established the Aetna 401(k) Plan for the benefit of its employees. Based on an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefit Security Administration, the secretary of labor has found that during the period from April 12, 2010 through April 5, 2013, Oxford and Watkins withheld a total of $117,167 in employee contributions, and failed to segregate the contributions from company assets as soon as they reasonably could do so and never forwarded these contributions to the plan in accordance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act . Additionally, during the same time period, Oxford and Watkins withheld a total of $139,144 in employee contributions from participants’ pay, failed to segregate these funds as soon as they reasonably could have been segregated from company’s assets, and forwarded these contributions to the plan in an untimely manner. In April 2013, the company ceased operations, and since then, Oxford and Watkins have failed to administer the plan and its assets totaling $131,900. They also failed to terminate the plan and ensure the plan assets were appropriately distributed to the plan participants.

Resolution: On Aug. 7, department attorneys filed a complaint containing the above allegations against Watkins and Oxford Holdings Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The department is asking the court to order defendants Oxford and Watkins to restore to the plan all losses, including interest or lost opportunity costs, which occurred as a result of their breaches of fiduciary obligations; order that the plan set off the individual plan accounts of any defendant against the amount of losses, including lost opportunity costs, resulting from their fiduciary breaches; remove defendants Oxford and Watkins as the plan fiduciaries and appoint an independent fiduciary, at the defendants’ expense, to arrange for the plan’s termination and distributions of its assets; enjoin defendants Oxford and Watkins from violating Title I of ERISA; and permanently enjoin them from serving as a fiduciary, administrator, officer, trustee, custodian, agent, employee, representative, or having control over the assets of any employee benefit plan subject to ERISA.

Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Docket Number: 15-cv-61637

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EBSA News Brief: 
08/18/2015
Contact Name: 

Michael D'Aquino

Phone Number: 
Contact Name: 

Lindsay Williams

Phone Number: 
Release Number: 
15-1633-ATL (253)