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U.S. Department of Labor Enters into Consent Judgment Permanently Enjoining Former Benefits Administrator after Pension Plan Theft Uncovered
BIRMINGHAM, AL – Following a civil investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama entered a consent judgment between the U.S. Department of Labor and Brandi Box Stephens, a former benefits administrator for the Iron Workers Local Union No. 92 Welfare Plan and the Iron Workers Local Union No. 92 Pension Plan, that permanently enjoins Stephens from acting as a fiduciary, trustee, agent, or representative in any capacity to any employee benefit plan as defined by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
EBSA investigators determined Stephens altered her paychecks by increasing the amount she was due. Stephens also diverted additional payroll checks and other expense account checks to herself by securing signatures of plan trustees and substituting her own name for the names of the rightful payees.
EBSA investigators also found Stephens entered false information on the paper stubs attached to the physical checks, and made fraudulent entries in the plans’ accounting records.
“Consent judgments such as this one identify bad actors and deprive them of access to employees’ benefits,” said Lawrence Thompson, EBSA Deputy Regional Director in Atlanta. “The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to press any legal opportunity to ensure employees retain what they have rightfully earned.”
Stephens was previously sentenced to serve six months of home confinement, five years of probation, and to make restitution in the amount of $45,896 in a separate criminal investigation performed by EBSA.
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/ebsa.
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Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-00493-RDP