Macristy Industries Settles Allegations over Improper Plan Asset Use

June 5, 2007 ( - UK-holding company Macristy Industries Inc. and its president have agreed to restore $2.1 million into the company's cash balance plan to settle a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) that alleged the company improperly used plan assets.

According to an announcement from the DoL, the lawsuit was filed against the company in January and alleges that between 2002 and now, Macristy improperly diverted more than $2.5 million in plan assets to other company accounts and filed false or no annual reports with the department.

The suit further claimed that company president Jeffrey Barlow used approximately $773,186 for legitimate plan benefits and expenses and used approximately $1.8 million to pay for company operations. The Department said that by doing this, the company and Barlow breached their fiduciary obligations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

After the department filed the suit, Macristy said it returned $1.1 million to the plan and said that as a result of the settlement, it would restore another $1 million.

Barlow stepped down as fiduciary of the plan and the court order bans him from serving as a fiduciary or service provider to any ERISA-covered plan in the future and requires the company to pay the costs of the independent trustee appointed by the court.  

The defendants also were ordered to file all required Form 5500 annual reports as soon as possible, file Form 5330 with the Internal Revenue Service and pay any civil penalties assessed by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Macristy owns Connecticut Stamping and Bending Inc., Tube Bends Inc., The Sunrise Realty Corp. and Plumb E-Z Manufacturing Co. The cash balance plan had about 286 participants as of 2003.