U.S. Department of Labor Assists in Pension Fund Theft Investigation That Nets Criminal Conviction

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PROVIDENCE, RI – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) participated in a multi-agency investigation related to pension fund theft that has resulted in a criminal conviction. John M. Hairabet, Jr., a former business associate and office manager of New England Anesthesiologists Inc. and president of Anesthesia Management Consultants LLC – both based in Warwick, Rhode Island – has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for embezzling $120,313 in employee elective deferrals that were to be deposited into an employee 401(k) pension fund, as well as $587,218 from bank accounts belonging to New England Anesthesiologists.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island has also ordered Hairabet to serve 3 years supervised release upon completion of his term of incarceration, and to pay restitution to the victims in this case – including pensioners whose money was embezzled from the employee 401(k) pension fund. The total amount of restitution to be paid has not yet been determined. Hairabet pleaded guilty in July 2017 to one count of pension fund theft, six counts of wire fraud, and two counts of money laundering.

“Theft from pension funds violates the law and cheats plan participants,” said Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) Acting Regional Director Carol S. Hamilton, in Boston. “The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to investigate and take action to counter any activity that threatens employees’ hard-earned retirement benefits.”

The matter was investigated by EBSA, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Secret Service. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Rhode Island.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act protects 401(k) plans and other benefit plans. 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/ebsa.  

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