DoL Sues Ventura Tech for K Plan ERISA Violations

August 16, 2004 ( - The Department of Labor (DoL) has sued Ventura Technology International Inc, and its owner for failing to properly remit employee contributions to the corporation's 401(k) plan and segregate those contributions from its general assets.

The suit, filed in federal district court in Indianapolis, alleges the company and Barbara Baker, the owner and plan trustee, failed to timely remit contributions to the plan and commingled the contributions with the company’s general assets in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).   Baker also abandoned the plan and failed to distribute its assets to participants and beneficiaries and to properly terminate the 401(k).

>There were eight participants and $26,496 in assets as of April 2004.

The suit seeks to require Baker to restore all losses plus interest to the plan, correct the prohibited transactions , and offset her individual account with the amount of the plan’s losses.   It also seeks to remove Baker as the trustee, permanently bar her from serving as a fiduciary to any employee benefit plan covered by ERISA, and appoint an independent fiduciary to distribute the plan’s assets to participants and beneficiaries and terminate the plan.

“Plan fiduciaries have a responsibility to protect plan assets, including making sure there is someone managing the plan,” said Joseph Menez, director of the Cincinnati regional office of the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), which investigated the case.

The suit also alleges that the plan participants and beneficiaries were left without a fiduciary to distribute the retirement plan assets.

Ventura Technology International, Inc, provided information technology consulting services.   It ceased doing business in August 2002.