|WEST PALM BEACH, FL, March 6, 2019 - After a U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) investigation of a multi-million dollar pension trust fraud, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida has sentenced William H. Minor to 41 months in prison, three years of supervised release, a special assessment of $100, and ordered him to pay $1,636,604 restitution.
The court's action comes after Minor - operator of Multi Financial Insurance Corp., a West Palm Beach, Florida, provider of investment advice and administrative services for pension plans - pleaded guilty in September 2018 to one count of mail fraud. EBSA investigators found that, starting in 1991 and continuing until June 2016, Minor transferred approximately $2 million from the Rehabilitation Center for Children & Adults Inc. Pension Trust to accounts he controlled.
The Rehabilitation Center for Children & Adults Inc., a Palm Beach nonprofit rehabilitation center that provides outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy to children and adults, sponsored the plan. Minor served as a volunteer member of the center's board of governors.
In October 1991, Minor moved plan assets to Transamerica Life Insurance and Annuity Co., for which he registered as an insurance agent. Minor falsely represented to the rehabilitation center and plan trustees that Multi Financial Insurance Corp. would work in partnership with Transamerica Life Insurance and Annuity Co. to administer the plan, even though Transamerica Life Insurance and Annuity Co. had no partnership with Minor, and did not provide any administrative or record keeping services for the plan. As a result, Minor was able to exercise control of the plan.
Minor used that authority to direct one plan trustee to endorse benefit checks from Transamerica Life Insurance and Annuity Co. to Multi Financial Insurance Corp., with the understanding that Minor would then issue payments to specified plan participants. In other instances, Minor forged the trustee's name on the checks and opened a bank account in the name of "Trustee for the Rehabilitation." Since the checks were made payable to the Trustee for the Rehabilitation account, Minor was able to directly deposit the checks into this account without the endorsement of the plan trustee.
EBSA determined Minor made 63 fraudulent requests to Transamerica Life Insurance and Annuity Co. for lump sum benefits checks for participants not entitled to plan benefits. Transamerica Life Insurance and Annuity Co. processed the requests and issued 63 checks payable to the Trustee for the Rehabilitation account. Minor deposited 15 checks into the Multi Financial Insurance Corp. account and 48 checks into the Trustee for the Rehabilitation account. In total, he fraudulently transferred approximately $2 million from the pension plan to his own accounts, using the plan's assets to benefit himself and his family.
"Theft of pension plan assets jeopardizes the benefits of workers. This case reaffirms the U.S. Department of Labor's commitment to protect workers' benefits by identifying criminal activity wherever and whenever it occurs," said Employee Benefits Security Administration Regional Isabel Colon, in Atlanta.
The investigation was a combined effort of EBSA, the FBI, and the West Palm Beach Office of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida.
Employers and workers can reach EBSA toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems related to private sector retirement and health plans. Additional information can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa.