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Retirement funds ordered restored

By Michael P. Tremoglie | Jul 20, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - A federal judge ordered on Wednesday the president of a graphics company and the president of the pension administrator to restore funds to the company's two employee retirement plans.

The order was the result of a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor that followed an investigation by its Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Mary Clark, president of Clark Graphics in Columbus, Ohio, and Marcia Dowdell, the president of Pension Retirement Planning who served as administrator for the plans, have been ordered to pay back the plans.

Clark will have to pay $505,551.46 ($142,797.23 to the Clark Graphics Defined Benefit Plan and $362,754.23to the Clark Graphics Profit Sharing Plan). Dowdell has been ordered to restore to the profit sharing plan a total of $425,586.73, less any payments made by other defendants.

She also has been ordered to restore $142,797.23 less any payments made by other defendants, to the defined benefit plan. Additionally, Dowdell has been enjoined from serving as a fiduciary or service provider to any ERISA-covered plan in the future.

DOL alleged insufficient oversight and mishandling of plan assets resulting in multiple violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

Specifically, DOL said that Clark Graphics failed its fiduciary responsibilities as plan trustees by neglecting to monitor the actions of the plans' administrator. It also allegedly failed to review plans, trust documents and other data necessary to ensure payment accuracy. Dowdell allegedly did not maintain accurate records for participants and some participants have not received the correct retirement benefits.

"Employers that sponsor retirement plans have a fiduciary duty to monitor plan assets and ensure they are handled appropriately and protected," Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi said.

"Contracting with an outside firm to manage those assets does not absolve them of their legal responsibilities. Congress made it clear long ago that money set aside for retirement is much too important to mishandle, abuse or neglect, and enacted strict protections with respect to workers' hard-earned savings."

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