HARTFORD, CT – After an investigation by the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and Office of Inspector General (OIG), Yolanda Silverio, a former eligibility coordinator for a Connecticut company that administers trust funds for public and private sector health benefit plans, has been sentenced by the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to 10 months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. The court has also ordered Silverio to pay $35,461.34 in restitution, perform 150 hours of community service, and notify any future employers in writing of her two prior fraud convictions.
Silverio, a former Meriden resident, received checks from individual participants in health plans as payment toward their union-related health benefits. Such plans are covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
The Department found that Silverio diverted 49 of these checks totaling $35,461.34 into her own bank accounts between May 2013 and July 2014. In 2004, she was convicted in federal court for embezzling more than $105,000 from two Connecticut businesses.
“Diverting benefit payments for one’s own use violates the law, and undermines the hard-earned benefits of American employees and their families,” said Carol S. Hamilton, EBSA Acting Regional Director in Boston. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to fighting fraud and abuse of employee benefit plans and pursues legal action against those who abuse their position of trust.”
“Yolanda Silverio abused her position of trust by diverting the hard-earned health benefits of American workers to her own personal use. We will continue to work with EBSA and law enforcement partners to vigorously pursue those who defraud employee benefit plans,” said Peter Nozka, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan L. Wines of the office of U.S. Attorney John H. Durham.
ERISA protects health, 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.