GREENBELT, MD – The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Southern Division, has sentenced a Maryland business owner to one year and one day of imprisonment, and $354,175 in restitution for violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Nathan G. Williams pleaded guilty to one count of theft or embezzlement from his company’s employee benefit plan in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 664.

Williams was the sole owner and chief executive officer of NW Systems Inc., based in Largo, Maryland. The company was the sponsor of the employee benefit plan. The court’s action comes after an investigation in which the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), working with the U.S. Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), determined that, from January 2012 to September 2012, Williams failed, as required, to deposit employee contributions to the plan. Williams withheld these contributions from employees’ paychecks, but used some of these funds for corporate and personal expenses.

“The embezzlement of employee contributions to company retirement plans undermines the private pension system,” said EBSA Regional Director Michael Schloss, in Philadelphia. “The U.S. Department of Labor will aggressively pursue those who misuse funds from employee benefit plans.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, Southern Division, prosecuted the case.