News Brief

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US Labor Department recovers over $130K for former employees of Oxford Holdings Inc. after fiduciary fails to remit employee 401(k) contributions

Date of action: Oct. 19, 2015

Type of action: Consent Judgment and Order

Names of defendants: Steven J. Watkins, Oxford Holdings Inc., and Aetna 401(k) Plan

Allegations: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefit Security Administration filed a complaint on Aug. 7, 2015 against Steven J. Watkins, Oxford Holdings Inc., and Aetna 401(k) Plan. The complaint alleges the Aetna 401(k) retirement plan was established by Oxford Holdings Inc. for the benefit of its employees. The plan permitted participants to contribute a portion of their pay through payroll deductions. a former construction company based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Watkins was the company owner and plan trustee.

The investigation revealed that 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. The defendants never forwarded these contributions to the plan in accordance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

In April 2013, the company ceased operations and the defendants failed to terminate the plan and ensure the plan’s assets, totaling $130,525, were appropriately distributed to the plan participants. Since the secretary’s complaint was filed, defendants have made restitution to the plan in the amount of $95,000.

Resolution: A consent judgment and order was entered on Oct. 19, 2015, which permanently enjoined the defendants from violating provisions of the ERISA and from acting as fiduciaries, trustees, agents, or representatives in any capacity to any employee benefit plan, as defined by ERISA. Additionally, the defendants are ordered to make restitution to the plan in the amount of $35,525, which includes interest or lost opportunity costs that occurred as a result of their breaches of fiduciary obligations through Sept. 30, 2015. Post-judgment interest will continue to accrue until paid in full. Additionally, the defendants are ordered to appoint AMI Benefit Plan Administrators Inc. as independent fiduciary to the plan in order to collect, marshal, and administer the plan. The defendants will reimburse the plan for AMI’s reasonable fees and expenses with respect to services performed for the plan.

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

Docket Number: 15-cv-61637-UU

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EBSA News Brief: 
10/19/2015
Release Number: 
15-2065-ATL (344)