Lakewood man charged with embezzlement from employee benefit plan
DENVER – Mark F. Bishop, a 48 year old Lakewood man, made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Denver on Tuesday (May 3, 2011), where U.S. Magistrate Judge Craig B. Shaffer advised him of the pending charges, and the penalties associated with those charges. Bishop was also arraigned, where he entered the pro-forma not guilty plea. Bishop was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on April 18, 2011. He faces 27 counts of embezzlement from an employee benefit plan. At the conclusion of the hearing Bishop was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.
According to the indictment, Bishop, who was the owner of M. B. Consulting, was responsible for administering a Simple IRA employee pension benefit plan. Beginning in January of 2008, and continuing through March of 2009, Bishop allegedly embezzled over $36,000 in employee benefit funds. Specifically, Bishop withheld money from his employees’ paychecks for the purpose of contributing that money in Simple IRA plans for those employees. Instead of contributing this money to the employees’ Simple IRA plans, Bishop converted the money to his own personal use and for the use of another. The indictment includes a forfeiture notice, which would allow the government to obtain a money judgment for any proceeds the defendant obtained as a result of the offense.
“In this case, hard working employees believed that their money was going to be invested in an IRA fund for their future, when in reality the defendant took it for his and another’s personal gain,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.
“This criminal action demonstrates the Labor Department’s resolve to vigorously enforce the law to ensure that those who steal from contributing employee benefit plans are brought to justice,” said James Purcell, Acting Director of the Kansas City Regional Office for the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration. “We will aggressively investigate plan thefts under our Contributory Plans Criminal Project, which targets those who prey on plan participants and beneficiaries.”
This case was investigated by the Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration and the FBI Denver Field Office.
Bishop is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Pegeen Rhyne, with Assistant U.S. Attorney Tonya Andrews handling the Asset Forfeiture.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.