Employer Ordered to Pay for Failing to Monitor Providers

January 10, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The owner and operator of a Salem, New Hampshire, business has been ordered to pay $100,000 to the company's profit sharing plan over alleged violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

According to an Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) announcement, in a lawsuit filed in 2006, the Department of Labor alleged Richard E. Landry Sr., owner and operator of Landry Architects violated ERISA when he failed to adequately monitor and control the activities of Bradford D. Bleidt and Bleidt’s companies, Allocation Plus Asset Management, and Financial Perspectives Planning Services.  Landry also failed to oversee and control plan assets, and to obtain a bond to protect the plan’s assets, the Department charged.

Bleidt was convicted in December 2005 on criminal charges for using plan funds for his own benefit, the announcement said. Between January and November 2004, Bleidt and his companies provided investment and financial management services to the plan. 

“The department’s legal action sends a clear message that employers and plan trustees cannot neglect their fiduciary obligations to oversee the handling and investment of plan assets,” said Bradford P. Campbell, assistant secretary for the EBSA, in the announcement.

The judgment, entered in U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, also orders Landry to pay a civil monetary penalty of $10,000. The court ordered Landry to resign as the trustee and fiduciary to the plan, and to retain the services of a disinterested institutional trustee to serve as plan fiduciary.