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News Release

Court Sentences Former New Jersey Pension Fund Trustee for Employee Benefits Plan Embezzlement After U.S. Labor Department Investigation

NEW YORK, NY – The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey has sentenced Howard Preschel of Teaneck, New Jersey, to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $462,049 in restitution for embezzling funds from an employee pension benefits plan sponsored by CMG Vending Inc. in Union City, New Jersey. The court also fined Preschel $10,000.

The action comes after a joint investigation by the New York Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

The court sentenced Preschel after he pleaded guilty in June 2019 to one count of theft, embezzlement and conversion to his own use or the use of another, money and funds of an employee pension benefits plan. In March 2019, Preschel faced a 10-count indictment for embezzlement from an employee benefit plan and three counts of failure to file an annual report.

Investigators found that from on or about September 2013 to April 2018, Preschel served as a plan trustee for CMG Vending Inc. Pension Trust Fund. CMG Vending operates, leases and rents vending machines throughout New Jersey and New York. During this time, Preschel embezzled approximately $186,123.93 from the employee pension benefit plan. Additionally, from on or about January to July 2016, Preschel knowingly and willingly failed to file the required annual report for the CMG pension plan. Both acts violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

“Embezzling pension funds cheats workers, retirees, and their families and is against the law,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration Preston Rutledge. “The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration will investigate and take action to counter illegal activity that threatens employees’ hard-earned retirement benefits.”

“Howard Preschel embezzled the assets of a retirement plan, depriving hard working employees of their retirement security. We will continue to work with Employee Benefits Security Administration to bring to justice those who seek to exploit employee benefit plans for personal gain,” said U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General’s Special Agent-in-Charge Michael C. Mikulka, in the New York Region.

 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

EBSA’s mission is to assure the security of the retirement, health and other workplace related benefits of America's workers and their families. EBSA accomplishes this mission by developing effective regulations; assisting and educating workers, plan sponsors, fiduciaries and service providers and vigorously enforcing the law.

The OIG conducts criminal, civil and administrative investigations into alleged violations of federal laws relating to department programs, operations and personnel. In addition, the OIG conducts criminal investigations to combat the influence of labor racketeering and organized crime in the nation’s labor unions. Promptly refer such matters to the OIG Hotline or 1-800-347-3756.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
February 27, 2020
Release Number
Media Contact: Joanna Hawkins
Media Contact: Leni Fortson
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