Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.
Former Owner of North Carolina’s House of Lights Ordered To Pay $1,639,983 in Restitution to Profit-Sharing Plan
RALEIGH, NC – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina has ordered Thomas E. Beverly Sr. - former owner of the House of Lights Inc. - to pay restitution totaling $1,639,983 to the company’s profit-sharing plan. In addition to the restoration of funds, which includes lost earnings of $331,121 through mid-September 2018, Beverly will pay a successor fiduciary to handle remittance of this restitution to plan beneficiaries. The court also ordered Beverly to make the restitution payment no later than Sept. 15, 2018.
Beverly served as the plan administrator and trustee to the defunct North Carolina lighting company.
The House of Lights Inc. Pension Plan & Trust merged with the House of Lights Inc. Profit-Sharing Plan in October 2010. EBSA investigators found that from November 2011 to January 2014, Beverly issued checks from the plan’s checking account to the House of Lights, himself, and other entities for $1,308,862 for purposes prohibited under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Beverly admitted that some checks made payments on company-owned and personal properties.
The judgment permanently enjoins Beverly from violating the provisions of Title I of ERISA as well as acting as a fiduciary, trustee, agent, or representative in any capacity to an employee benefit plan.
“This case exemplifies the U.S. Department of Labor’s commitment to aggressively pursue fiduciaries who misuse assets of private-sector benefit plans,” said Lawrence Thompson, EBSA Deputy Regional Director in Atlanta.
The Atlanta Regional EBSA office investigated the case and the Regional Solicitor’s office litigated on the Department of Labor’s behalf.
Employers and workers can reach EBSA toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems to private sector retirement and health plans. Additional information can be found at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/.
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Civil Action No. 5:18-cv-00125-BR