Business Owner Gets Prison for Benefit Plan Embezzlement

A DOL investigation found the business owner used benefit plan contributions for corporate and personal expenses.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland has sentenced a Maryland business owner to one year and one day of imprisonment, and ordered him to pay $354,175 in restitution for violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Nathan Williams pleaded guilty to one count of theft or embezzlement from his company’s employee benefit plan.

The order comes after an investigation in which the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), working with the U.S. Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), determined that, from January 2012 to September 2012, Williams failed to deposit employee contributions to the plan. According to the EBSA and OIG, Williams withheld these contributions from employees’ paychecks, but used some of these funds for corporate and personal expenses.

The order shows Williams was the sole owner and chief executive officer of NW Systems Inc., based in Largo, Maryland. The company was the sponsor of the employee benefit plan in question.

“The embezzlement of employee contributions to company retirement plans undermines the private pension system,” observes EBSA Regional Director Michael Schloss, in Philadelphia. “The U.S. Department of Labor will aggressively pursue those who misuse funds from employee benefit plans.”