Business of Law
US Labor Dept. Files ERISA Suit Against Eichholz Law Firm and Ex-CEO
Posted Jul 16, 2010 10:52 AM CST
By Martha Neil
The U.S. Department of Labor sued a Georgia personal injury firm and its former chief executive officer this week, contending that they improperly transferred, lent or used retirement plan assets in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
In addition to seeking reimbursement of the missing money, the Savannah federal court filing also asks for interest and lost opportunity costs from the Eichholz Firm and Benjamine Eichholz, reports the Savannah Morning News.
A DOL press release published by WSAV says the suit contends as well that the defendants lent plan assets imprudently and invested in high-risk securities.
Eichholz, who gave up his law license earlier this year, is now serving a 21-month prison term after being accused of embezzling $950,000 from firm retirement accounts. His son, David, is running the law firm that formerly operated under the name of Benjamin Eichholz.
It appears that the DOL suit may have resulted from a breakdown in an earlier plan to reimburse workers for their losses:
Another suit also was filed this week against the same defendants in Georgia state court by two ex-employees, asserting breach of an oral settlement agreement to pay a little over $105,000 to settle claims of fraud, embezzlement and breach of trust concerning retirement plan assets, the Morning News reports in an earlier article.
The new suit, filed in Chatham County Superior Court, seeks punitive damages of $10 million in addition to compensation and adds new claims of conspiracy and negligent representation.
None of the articles contains any comment from the defendants.