403(b) Plan Participants Voluntarily Dismiss Lawsuit Against Custodian

The lawsuit accused Matrix Trust Company of violating its fiduciary duties by making unauthorized transfers of participants’ accounts to a bank account maintained by Vantage Benefits Administrators.

Two 403(b) plan participants have voluntarily dismissed a lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated 403(b) plan participants against Matrix Trust Company for making several transfers to an unauthorized account held by recordkeeper Vantage Benefits Administrators.

According to the lawsuit, Matrix, which served as custodian to the plan, executed at least $3 million of unsanctioned transfers from at least five 403(b) plans into a private, Bank of America business account maintained by Vantage or its agents. In a statement at the time the lawsuit was filed, Matrix said, “This lawsuit is completely without merit. Matrix Trust Company did not manage these investment accounts or serve as a trustee or fiduciary for them.”

A previously filed lawsuit also accused Vantage and Matrix of violating their fiduciary duties by taking 401(k) plan assets.

Just last month, Jeffrey Richie and Wendy Richie, co-owners of Vantage Benefits Administrators, were charged with conspiracy, theft from an employee benefit plan, wire fraud and aggravated identify theft.

According to the indictment, Vantage served as third-party administrator for dozens of retirement funds, including several 401(k)s. With her husband’s knowledge, Ms. Richie—posing as various beneficiaries—allegedly submitted fraudulent distribution requests to the retirement fund custodian, Matrix Trust Co. Instead of depositing the money into beneficiaries’ accounts, however, she transferred it into Vantage’s operating account.

The Richies misappropriated funds from at least 1,000 plan participants in at least 20 employers’ retirement plans, prosecutors say.