U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Trustee Being Sentenced for Theft of Employee Benefit Plan Funds in California
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – After a U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) investigation, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division, has ordered a former pension benefit plan trustee to pay $234,271 in restitution and to serve one year of probation for violating federal criminal statutes pertaining to plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The trustee has also been barred from serving as a fiduciary or service provider to a covered employee benefit plan for 13 years.
EBSA investigators found evidence that Lisa Marie Rossi - in her role as operating manager and trustee to Oakland-based metal refinisher E-D Coat Inc.’s profit-sharing plan - unlawfully and willfully removed $66,049 from the plan’s accounts. Rossi used the money for unauthorized purposes with the knowledge that the funds were owed to plan participants. She was charged with one count of theft from the employee benefit plan, and later pleaded guilty.
“The prosecution of theft and embezzlement from employee benefit plans supports the Department of Labor’s mission to protect the rights of America’s workers, including the right to receive benefits earned through employer sponsored retirement and health benefit plans,” said Klaus Placke, Employee Benefits Security Administration’s Acting Regional Director in San Francisco. “EBSA will continue to aggressively investigate such crimes on behalf of workers nationwide.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California in Oakland prosecuted the case.
Employers and workers can reach EBSA toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems related to private sector retirement and health plans. Additional information can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa.