On March 14, Judith Ann Banks Sims, former operator of Professional Employee Leasing, Inc. (PEL), a Dadeville, Alabama-based employee leasing company, was sentenced to 12 months home confinement, two years probation and a special assessment of $100. PEL was associated with Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers Local 03-543. In February, Sims pled guilty to one count of making false statements and concealing facts relating to documents she had submitted to the Labor Department under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
Sims and her husband had run PEL during the years 1997-2005, “leasing” employees to outside entities, mostly physicians’ offices. The company also ran an ERISA-based retirement fund known as the Professional Employee Leasing, Inc. Money Purchase Pension Plan. Each year beginning in 1997, federal prosecutors charged, PEL failed to contribute its full promised amount to the fund. To hide the shortfall, Judith Sims would overstate plan assets. As part of the plea agreement, Sims pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false Form 5500 (Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan) on October 13, 2001. The action comes after an investigation by the Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. (OLMS, 3/30/07).