Labor department cracks down on ERISA violations

 

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration launched enforcement actions against two dozen employers Tuesday, alleging they bilked their employees of more than $7 million in retirement plan and health care plan contributions.

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In the cases, the Labor Department said workers’ contributions to their pension or health care plans that had been withheld from their paychecks were not deposited into the plans. Rather, the employers allegedly kept the money, used it for their own purposes or other purposes unrelated to the plans, the federal agency said in a statement.

 “Employees sacrificed wages to provide important benefits for themselves and their families,” Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said in the statement. “These enforcement actions underscore the Labor Department’s commitment to ensure that these workers’ contributions are protected and available to pay future benefits.”

 Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Labor Department has the authority to conduct civil and criminal investigations to protect employee benefit programs and the assets set aside to pay benefits to workers and their families.

 For fact sheets on EBSA’s civil and criminal enforcement programs, see www.dol.gov/ebsa. To view the employers facing enforcement actions visit www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/ECI/main.html.

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