Date of Action:          April 10, 2023

Type of Action:         Employee Retirement Income Security Act consent order and judgment

Company/Owners:    Fred Vargason

Nissan of St. Charles

Nissan of St. Charles Simple IRA Plan

Background: On April 10, 2023, Judge Robert W. Gettleman in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered a consent order and judgment against Nissan of St. Charles and company owner Fred Vargason.

The Secretary of Labor filed a lawsuit on April 8, 2022, after the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration found the company and Vargason failed to remit employees’ voluntary salary contributions to the company’s Simple IRA Plan.

Resolution: The consent judgment approves a withdrawal from Vargason’s personal account with the company’s Simple IRA plan in the amount of $13,772 to restore the employees’ missing funds. The amount represents $13,071 in contributions not forwarded to the plan and $651 in lost opportunity costs for Nissan of St. Charles employees who made voluntary contributions from their pay from Jan. 1 through Jan. 31, 2019.

The judgment also forbids Vargason and the company from future ERISA violations and bars them from serving as fiduciaries or service providers to any ERISA-covered employee benefit plan in the future. The court appointed AMI Benefit Plan Administrators Inc. as the plan’s independent fiduciary to allocate the restoration to harmed plan participants’ accounts. Vargason must also pay $2,060 from his fund to pay AMI for their services and a $2,754 penalty as a result of the ERISA violation.

Employers and workers can reach EBSA toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems related to private sector retirement and health plans. Learn more about EBSA.

Quote: “All voluntary employee contributions must be forwarded to employee benefit plans in a timely manner. Failing to do so, denies employees the opportunity to prepare for the future,” said Employee Benefit Security Administration Regional Director Ruben R. Chapa in Chicago.

Docket Number: Case No.:22-cv-01822

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