The U.S. Department of Labor has found that more than $750,000 was misappropriated from the SAG Pension & Health Plans, according to guild sources familiar with the probe. The money has been repaid by the Plans’ insurer, and the DoL’s investigation was closed last month.
Guild sources say that the misuse of the Plans’ funds stem largely from excessive fees paid on investments; improper spending on holiday, staff retirement and anniversary parties; and excessive spending by the trustees for meals, limos and meetings.
The misappropriation of funds is in addition to the millions of dollars embezzled by Nader Karimi, the Plans’ former chief information officer, who was sentenced in April to five years of probation after having pled guilty to filing a false income tax return in which he failed to report more than $700,000 in kickbacks he received from contractors he hired to upgrade the Plans’ computer system.
Bruce Dow, the Plans’ former chief administrator, testified that Karimi might have embezzled as much as $3 million, and the Plans received more than $2.5 million from its insurers to recoup part of those loses. During a deposition, Dow said it was difficult to determine exactly how much Karimi had stolen. Critics say that the exact amount won’t be known until and unless the Plans conduct a forensic audit.
The revelation of the latest misappropriation of funds – said to total $756,027.16 – is expected to be a hot topic of debate at tomorrow’s SAG-AFTRA national board meeting.
“That’s the exact amount that was told to me by the Department of Labor after two years of complaints filed by me and other concerned members,” said guild member Peter Antico, who’s been pressing for a forensic audit of the Plans for years.