SAN JOSE – LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that Janessa Dabler, 49, was convicted yesterday afternoon of embezzling from her former company’s pension fund. After a two-week bench trial, Judge Ronald M. Whyte found Dabler, a former executive at Solutions That Are Turnkey (STAT) and a trustee of the company pension plan, guilty of three counts of willfully embezzling and stealing money from the employee pension fund. The convictions are a result of an investigation by the San Francisco Regional Office of United States Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration.
Evidence at trial showed that Dabler was a principal in the start up duplication software company in the late 1980s. In 1991, Dabler, a STAT executive officer and her business partner at STAT instituted a 401(k) benefit plan with a profit sharing component. Dabler and the business partner sold STAT in late 1995. In September 1996, Dabler and the other pension fund trustee terminated the pension fund effective December 31, 1995. As a trustee, Dabler was obligated to pay participants of the pension plan their own employee contribution, the company matching contribution and profit sharing percentage of plan. STAT is no longer in business.
The evidence showed that while Dabler did pay some employees their share of the monies, she failed to pay other employees their monies from the pension fund. As trustee of the pension plan, therefore having control of the plan’s assets, Dabler used the pension fund for her personal use until she depleted the fund in September 1998.
U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan said, “Corporate executives will be held criminally accountable for stealing the retirement savings of their employees. I thank the Department of Labor and the trial team for their outstanding work that resulted in this conviction.”
After complaints by employee participants of the STAT pension plan and initially an administrative investigation and later a criminal investigation by the San Francisco Regional Office of the Department of Labor, Dabler was charged in a three-count indictment on August 27, 2003, for willfully stealing and embezzling monies from an of employee benefit program in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 664. The indictment charged three transactions, totaling about $14,000, in which Dabler used monies in the pension fund for her personal use. However, evidence a trial showed that Dabler owed about $57,000 to approximately 20 employees who never received either their 401(k) or profit sharing monies.
Francis C. Clisham, Regional Director, U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, San Francisco Regional Office: “Strong enforcement is a critical component in our efforts to protect the retirement security of American workers. This action demonstrates not only our commitment, but also the commitment of the U.S. Attorney’s office, to this goal.”
The sentencing of Ms. Dabler is scheduled for September 11, 2006 before Judge Whyte in San Jose. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 664 is five years, fine of $250,000, plus restitution to defrauded employee/participants. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Carlos Singh is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the case with the assistance of Tracey Andersen. The prosecution is the result of a 5-year administrative and later criminal investigation by the San Francisco Regional Office of United States Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration.
Case #: CR-03-20123-RMW
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]