A Florida-based investment adviser has been ordered by the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution for his involvement in 25 years of fraud against a Palm Beach pension trust.
The order comes after William Minor, operator of Multi Financial Insurance Corp., was sentenced in November to 41 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In September, Minor pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud.
An investigation led by the US Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) found that between 1991 and 2016, Minor transferred approximately $2 million from the Rehabilitation Center for Children & Adults Inc. Pension Trust to accounts he controlled, and used the pension’s assets to benefit himself and his family.
The Rehabilitation Center for Children & Adults Inc. is a Palm Beach-based nonprofit rehabilitation center that provides outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy to children and adults. Minor served as a volunteer member of the center’s board of governors.
According to the EBSA, in October 1991, Minor moved plan assets to Transamerica Life Insurance and Annuity Co., for which he registered as an insurance agent. Minor told the rehabilitation center and plan trustees that Multi Financial Insurance Corp. would work in partnership with Transamerica to administer the plan. This was despite the fact that Transamerica had no partnership with Minor, and did not provide any administrative or recordkeeping services for the plan. As a result, Minor was able to exercise control of the plan, said the EBSA.
Minor allegedly used his authority to direct one plan trustee to endorse benefit checks from Transamerica to Multi Financial Insurance Corp., with the understanding that Minor would then issue payments to certain plan participants. In other instances, Minor forged the trustee’s signature on the checks and opened a bank account in the name of “Trustee for the Rehabilitation.”
Because the checks were made payable to the Trustee for the Rehabilitation account, Minor was able to directly deposit the checks into the account without the endorsement of the plan trustee.
EBSA said it determined that Minor made 63 fraudulent requests to Transamerica for lump-sum benefits checks for participants not entitled to plan benefits. Minor allegedly deposited 15 checks into the Multi Financial Insurance Corp. account and 48 checks into the Trustee for the Rehabilitation account.
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