Clay Co. business owner pleads guilty to deception charges

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BRAZIL, Ind. – A Clay County business owner pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor deception charge and received a suspended sentence.

After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, a Clay County judge sentenced Larry Morse, owner of Western Indiana Logistics Inc. in Brazil, Ind., to a suspended 180 days incarceration and 180 days probation.

EBSA’s investigation found Morse failed to remit employees’ voluntary pay contributions to the plan from June 14, 2013, through June 28, 2013, and again from June 6, 2014, through July 18, 2016. In total, $14,638 in participant contributions was withheld from three employees’ pay, and not remitted to the plan at Morse’s direction. 

“Criminal acts like this directly impact participants in employee benefit plans by compromising their hard-earned benefits and erode confidence in those chosen to manage their trust,” Employee Benefits Security Administration Regional Director L. Joe Rivers, said. “The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration is committed to ensuring the integrity of employee benefit programs and prosecuting those that fail to comply with the law.”

The investigation also determined that Western Indiana Logistics Inc. failed to make the required 3 percent employer matching contribution payments to the benefit plan for years 2013 through 2016, totaling $13,857.32. 

After being contacted by EBSA, Morse has since remitted all participant withholdings, all required employer contributions and lost opportunity costs.

Pursuant to the plea agreement, Morse is barred from ever serving as a fiduciary in the future.

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/agencies/ebsa.

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