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U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Court Ordering Illinois Business Owner to Restore Losses to Retirement Plan and Trust after Fiduciary Violations
CHICAGO, IL – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has entered a judgment requiring Frank Eric Talbert to restore $64,704 in losses owed to The Proteus Group 401(k) Retirement Plan. Talbert served as the sole trustee to the Chicago architectural company’s retirement plan and was part owner and the primary manager of Proteus’s daily operations.
EBSA investigators found The Proteus Group withheld participant contributions and loan repayments from participants’ wages for remittance to the retirement plan from Jan. 4, 2012, through Nov. 18, 2016. During the same period, Talbert and The Proteus Group - as fiduciaries - failed to forward a total of $56,886.51 in participant contributions and $2,188.68 in participant loan repayments. The fiduciaries also failed, in a timely manner, to forward to the plan $153,512.10 in participant contributions and $2,517.96 in participant loan repayments withheld from employees’ paychecks. They also failed to maintain a fidelity bond to protect the plan’s assets.
“The U.S. Department of Labor will aggressively pursue those who misuse assets of private-sector benefit plans,” said Jeffrey A. Monhart, EBSA Regional Director in Chicago.
The judgment permanently enjoins Talbert and The Proteus Group from acting as fiduciaries or service providers to employee benefit plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and requires the restoration of funds.
The EBSA office in Chicago investigated and the Regional Solicitor in Chicago litigated on the Department of Labor’s behalf.
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 https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa.
Civil Action No. 17-cv-09222