PWBA Had Record FY 2002 Plan Recoveries

November 4, 2002 ( - The Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA), the government's chief pension watchdog, spent a very busy FY 2002, according to the agency's records.

According to statistics made public Monday by Ann Combs, assistant secretary of labor and PWBA head, the agency pursued a record 4,925 civil cases of which 1,940 resulted in money recoveries for retirement plans of a record $832.4 million.

The money recoveries were 28% higher than in FY 2001. PWBA’s fiscal year ends September 30.

According to the PWBA, which enforces ERISA, most of the cases generating monetary recoveries involved 401(k) plans.

On the criminal side, PWBA opened 155 criminal cases during the period, and 134 individuals were indicted as a result.

The agency’s highest profile investigation during the year involved energy company Enron Corp.

In the coming year, Combs said the issue of underfunded corporate pension plans – which has been getting growing attention in recent months – would continue to be a major agency concern.

PWBA works with local attorneys who prosecute criminal violations it investigates. It coordinates its efforts with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service and the US Postal Service.