PA Firm Accused in Death Benefit Swindle

March 11, 2009 ( - The U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) has accused a Pennsylvania benefits firm of improperly administering death benefit plans sold nationwide, including improperly siphoning off more than $1 million in plan assets.

A DoL news release said a probe by its   Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)identified the activities the government said violated theEmployee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regarding more than 100 welfare benefit plans. Accused in a DoL federal court lawsuit werePenn-Mont Benefit Services Inc. of Bridgeport, Pennsylania; its owner, John Koresko V; Koresko’s law firms; and an attorney for the firms.

Among the actions highlighted in the suit were what the DoL said was the illegal payment from plan assets of   unreasonable and unnecessary lobbying expenses.

The plans involved   participated in the Master Trust for the Regional Employers Assurance Leagues Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association (REAL VEBA) and the Master Trust for the Single Employer Welfare Benefit Plan (SEP), the government said.

The EBSA probe found thatPenn-Mont failed to properly pay full death benefits to the families of deceased participants and unlawfully withdrew from the trusts more than $1 million, which was subsequently deposited in bank accounts belonging to Penn-Mont, the law firms and Penn Public Trust.