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EBSA Restored $700 Million to Retirement Plans, Participants During FY 2015

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The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) announced that during fiscal year 2015, enforcement actions that it brought to enforce the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) resulted in the recovery of $696.3 million for direct payment to plans, participants and beneficiaries.

EBSA’s oversight authority extends to nearly 681,000 retirement plans, approximately 2.3 million health plans, and a similar number of other welfare benefit plans, such as those providing life or disability insurance.

These plans cover about 143 million workers and their dependents, and, as of October 2, 2015, include assets of more than $ 8.7 trillion.

Of the monies recovered, a total of $265.3 million came from plan assets restored and/or participant benefits recovered.

The voluntary fiduciary correction program resulted in another $14.3 million, while the abandoned plan program recovered $13.8 million from 205 plans and monetary benefit recoveries from informal complaint resolution totaled $402.9 million. The abandoned plan program facilitates the termination of, and distribution of benefits from, individual account pension plans that have been abandoned by their sponsoring employers.

In FY 2015, EBSA closed 2,441 civil investigations with 1,640 of those cases (67.2 percent) resulting in monetary results for plans or other corrective action. EBSA often seeks voluntary compliance, but when that fails, cases are referred for litigation.

During FY 2015, EBSA referred 136 cases for litigation, and the Department of Labor filed civil suits in 89 cases during the fiscal year.

Criminal investigations also were prominent during the year. EBSA closed 275 criminal investigations, and its investigations led to the indictment of 61 individuals, including plan officials, corporate officers and service providers, for crimes related to employee benefit plans during the year.

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