Screen Actors Guild CEO Accused of Pension Plan Embezzlement
CEO Bruce Dow is also alleged to have covered up a $5 to $10 million embezzlement scheme. According to Hollywood’s TheWrap, The allegations stem from a labor department complaint from Craig E. Simmons, an ex-employee of the Screen Actors Guild’s Producers Pension and Health Plans (SAG-PPHP), who charges fraud and theft by his former employers.
In documents filed with the department in September, Simmons claims he was told by Dow not to discuss an alleged embezzlement scheme by former chief information officer Nader Karimi and to lie to authorities about other questionable financial activity, the news report said.
Simmons, who was fired as SAG-PPHP’s executive director of HR, IT and risk management earlier this year, also accuses Dow of raiding the benefits plan to lavish money on family members and pay for his wife’s breast-enhancement surgery.
After news of the complaint broke on TheWrap, the plan’s board pledged a “full review” of Simmons’ allegations and announced it had retained outside counsel to conduct the investigation.
However, the petition claims the counsel SAG-PPHP turned to attorney Nancy Solomon, a friend of SAG’s national executive director, David White who worked with him previously at the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers. “Due to these close associations, we have serious concerns that Ms. Solomon’s objectivity and due diligence may have been compromised, resulting in the cherry-picking of certain people to interview while overlooking others who may not have been as supportive of Mr. Dow,” the complaint reads.
A spokesperson for SAG-PPHP declined to say if an investigation has been concluded, but told TheWrap the petition contains inaccurate information.
The petition also claims Solomon presented a report to the plan’s trustees and asked for Dow to pay back tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized moving expenses. But, it reads: “Merely returning the money is not sufficient to right this wrong. At what threshold of wrongdoing is punitive action taken?”“We are hearing nothing about what is being done to address or shine light on these issues,” the petition adds. “From out here it looks as though you are not exercising your fiduciary duties as trustees.”
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