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News Brief

US Labor Department sues president of defunct West Berlin land improvement company to make $138K debt owed to 401(k) non-dischargeable

Date of Action: June 13, 2016

Type of Action: Complaint

Name(s) of Defendants: William P. Bowman

Allegations: William Bowman and Associates Inc., a land improvement company based in West Berlin, New Jersey, sponsored the William Bowman Associates Inc. profit-sharing 401(k) plan for its employees. William P. Bowman was the president and sole shareholder of the company, and the sole trustee of the plan with sole authority over the investment decisions made for the plan. 

The company filed for bankruptcy in 2007 and ceased operations in 2009. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration investigated and found several violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by Bowman, who used his position to make a series of unsecured loans totaling $188,325.06 to related parties. These loans were never repaid, resulting in losses to the plan and its participants. 

On April 23, 2013, based on an earlier complaint filed by the U.S. Secretary of Labor involving the plan, Bowman entered into a consent judgment resolving an earlier complaint brought by the secretary. The court ordered Bowman to restore $188,325.06 to the plan through a series of 126 monthly installment payments. Subsequently, Bowman filed for bankruptcy. Restorative payments totaling $49,500 have been made to the plan. Bowman owes a remaining debt of $138,825.06 to the plan.

Resolution: The Secretary of Labor filed a complaint against Bowman, asking the court to declare this debt to the plan non-dischargeable in Bowman’s bankruptcy.

Court: U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey

Case Number: 16-01445 (ABA)

Employee Benefits Security Administration
June 14, 2016
Release Number
Media Contact: Leni Fortson
Media Contact: Joanna Hawkins