Retirement Plan Assets Used to Pay for Drugs

September 14, 2009 ( - U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has sentenced Alan Neal Mates of Weston, Florida, to a year and a day in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit money laundering.

United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein, announced that according to his guilty plea and testimony at court proceedings, beginning in at least 1999, Mates agreed to act as an intermediary between Christopher Denison, who lived in Maryland and wanted to illegally purchase oxycodone and valium, among other controlled substances, and a person who lived in Florida who would provide the drugs.  Specifically, Mates agreed to accept the drugs that the supplier would mail to him and send them to Denison, and received cash from Denison to pay for the drugs and Mates services. 

According to the announcement, initially, Denison sent personal funds to pay for the drugs, but as he ran out of money, he devised a scheme to divert funds from his employer’s retirement plan to pay for the drugs.  Denison, who was manager of the retirement plans for the company, identified members of the retirement plan whose plan statements were returned as undeliverable and changed their dates of service to ensure they would appear to be vested in the plan and entitled to distribution of retirement income. 

He then changed the members’ name and mailing address in the company’s computer system to names and addresses provided by Mates, including his mother and an employee, and sent them checks for distributions from the retirement accounts. Mates laundered more than $200,000 over the course of the conspiracy.

The announcement said Denison pleaded guilty to theft from an employee benefit plan and was sentenced to four months in jail, followed by six months of home detention.