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U.S. Labor Department sues owners of bankrupt Aurora, Ill., trucking company to recover $3 million in unpaid employee medical claims
Date:1/12/2010

CHICAGO, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Labor has sued the owners of bankrupt Mid-States Express Inc. of Aurora, Ill., for allegedly failing to protect the interests of the participants and beneficiaries in the company's 401(k) and health plans.  The department's lawsuit alleges that Bruce Hartmann failed to disclose to employees that their medical bills were not likely to be paid, even as the company continued to take deductions from their paychecks for medical coverage.  

As a result, despite the fact that $1.26 million in employee health plan contributions were withheld, $3 million in employee medical claims were not paid, in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Hartmann was an officer and owner of the company.

The suit also alleges that Bruce Hartmann and Terry Hartmann violated their fiduciary duties when they failed to remit $65,000 in contributions and loan re-payments, and to timely remit more than $1.5 million in 401(k) plan participant contributions and loan re-payments. The company was allowed to retain these contributions and loan repayments for its own benefit at the expense of participants and beneficiaries.

"These defendants blatantly misused their employees' retirement and health benefit contributions for personal gain," said Phyllis C. Borzi, assistant secretary of the Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).  "Despite financial hardships, employers and plan officials are obligated to forward those employee contributions to the plans."


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SOURCE U.S. Department of Labor
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