Former Plan Administrator in Contempt of Court Order Arrested

The DOL accused John Koresko V and other defendants of siphoning money from death benefit plans.

Federal marshals took John J. Koresko V, a disbarred attorney and former employee benefit plan administrator, into custody on May 6 after Koresko failed to transfer $1.68 million in assets in contempt of an earlier court order in a case involving violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

In February 2015, the court awarded nearly $40 million to more than 400 death benefit plans across the country. The award resolved a 2009 U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) lawsuit that followed an investigation by the Employee Benefits Security Administration that found Koresko and other defendants diverted tens of millions of dollars in plan assets through more than 21 accounts using more than 18 different entities at more than eight different banks.

Spanning more than 12 years, the scheme saw assets from the plans’ trusts used for real estate purchases in South Carolina and the Caribbean island of Nevis, to pay outside attorneys, lobbying expenses, operational expenses of Penn-Mont Benefit Services, Inc., and Koresko’s law firms, and for Koresko’s personal expenses, such as boat rentals and utilities.

Prior to the February 2015 judgment, the court ordered Koresko to transfer to the court-appointed independent fiduciary $1.68 million in assets he had taken from the Regional Employers Assurance Leagues Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association and the Single Employer Welfare Benefit Plan Trusts. The court also ordered him to transfer the title of ownership to real estate in the Caribbean island of Nevis that Koresko purchased using trust assets.

After the court ordered Koresko to give the independent fiduciary power of attorney over the Nevis bank account, he failed to comply by instead transferring the $1.68 million to another bank account under his control. He has also failed to transfer the real estate title as ordered by the court.

On April 26, the court found Koresko in contempt of court orders and ordered him to surrender to the Office of the U.S. Marshal and remain incarcerated until he complies. The court has scheduled a status hearing on May 18.