Practice Areas

Department of Labor Investigations & Audits

We have substantial experience representing fiduciaries, plan administrators and plan sponsors in matters involving the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”)—the governmental entity charged with enforcing the fiduciary provisions of ERISA. Our attorneys have represented fiduciaries in more than a hundred matters involving DOL investigations and audits. Based on our consistent dealings with the DOL and its investigators, we have developed a reputable, amicable, and (most importantly) productive working relationship.

In addition, we have experience representing fiduciaries in various other contexts including:

  • Responding to subpoenas from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”). We assisted a fiduciary in responding to an FBI subpoena pertaining to an investment manager under investigation for paying fees to politicians in exchange for business. We worked with the FBI to produce documents, obviating the need for witness testimony. No further action was taken against the fiduciary; and
  • Handling criminal investigations and interviews under Title I of ERISA by the U.S. Department of Labor in conjunction with criminal investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Awards

employment_awards

Who’s Who Legal Awards

Charter Fellows of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

Former Chairs of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section

New York Super Lawyers

Former Chairs of the New York State Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section

Former Chair of the American Bar Association’s Equal Employment Opportunity Committe

AV Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell

Practice Highlights

  • Represented eight (8) different fiduciaries in a series of DOL investigations in connection with plan investments in hedge funds and theft by a broker-dealer where the DOL closed its investigation without further action against the fiduciaries;
  • Represented a fiduciary in the DOL’s investigation into whether the fiduciary violated Title I of ERISA based on decision-making protocol and procedures used in determining asset allocation and making investment decisions. We worked closely with the DOL and, by letter, the agency closed its investigation without further action;
  • Represented a plan administrator in a DOL audit concerning a Form 5500 filing and the accountant’s work papers. We worked closely with the department to remedy the deficiencies of the Form 5500 and the accountant’s work papers and re-filed the Form 5500. The DOL closed the audit without further action;
  • Represented a plan sponsor in the DOL’s investigation into the employee benefits aspects of a merger transaction. We produced documents, met with department representatives approximately four times and submitted written memoranda. By letter, the DOL closed its investigation without further action;
  • Represented a fiduciary in the DOL’s investigation into investment fees where, upon agreement, the plan retained an independent fiduciary to evaluate the reasonableness of fees paid. We submitted the independent fiduciary’s written analysis and opinion and, by letter, the DOL closed its investigation without further action;
  • Represented several fiduciaries in DOL investigations under Title I of ERISA relating to the prudence of the plan’s investments. We produced documents and met with department representatives; and the DOL conducted on-site reviews of the plans. By letters, the agency closed its investigations without further action;
  • Represented a fiduciary in a DOL investigation under Title I of ERISA in connection with the plan’s investment in hedge funds and private equity. We worked closely with the department, which undertook a detailed review. By letter, the agency closed its investigation without further action;
  • Represented a fiduciary in a DOL investigation involving fiduciary responsibility and a service provider’s dishonesty; we achieved a significant reduction in the proposed penalty with the filing of restated financial statements. By letter, the agency closed its audit without further action;
  • Represented a plan administrator in a DOL audit involving fiduciary obligations and the department’s rejection of Form 5500. We achieved a significant reduction in the proposed penalty by demonstrating how the accountant’s methodology of testing employer payroll records satisfied ERISA and generally accepted auditing standards;
  • Represented a plan sponsor in a DOL investigation under Title I. We produced documents and worked closely with the department to respond to additional information requests. By letter, the agency closed its investigation without further action;
  • Represented certain loyal fiduciaries in a DOL investigation involving the mismanagement of millions of dollars of plan assets by a subset of other fiduciaries. We achieved settlement of the investigation without penalty to our innocent fiduciaries;
  • Represented several different fiduciaries involving random and routine DOL audits. We produced documents and upon completion the department issued letters closing the audits without further action against the plan;
  • Represented a plan administrator in a DOL audit of the plan accountant’s work papers. After the production of documents and a meeting with the department, the matter was closed without further action;
  • Represented a fiduciary in connection with a DOL investigation into whether the fiduciary violated Title I based on a significant investment loss in connection with the plan’s hedging investments. We produced documents and met with department representatives; and the Department conducted an on-site review of the plan. By letters, the Department closed its investigations without further action;
  • Represented a fiduciary in connection with a DOL investigation under Title I involving whether an investment was prudent, whether the fees were reasonable, and whether a conflict of interest existed with the investment professional that recommended the investment and who was paid, in part, based on an incentive fee. We produced documents to the DOL and met with department representatives. As part of an agreement with the department, the fiduciary retained an independent fiduciary to analyze the investments and provide an opinion on prudence and investment fees. After submission of the independent fiduciary study, the agency , by letter, closed its investigation without further action; and
  • Represented a plan administrator in a DOL investigation under Title I. We produced documents, and the department focused on investment service provider arrangements and Form 5500s. The department also interviewed the plan administrator. By letter, the agency closed its investigation without further action.