CRESTVIEW — A local doctor, accused in 2010 of misusing $800,000 from his company’s pension plan, has been ordered to pay back $225,000 of that money.
The U.S. Department of Labor announced Tuesday that Dr. Robert S. Caputo and Glenn M. Bankert must restore $225,000 to an employee stock ownership plan. Caputo’s medical group, Robert S. Caputo D.O., maintained the pension plan. Bankert was a plan trustee.
The judgment settles a 2010 civil suit filed against Caputo and Bankert in U.S. District Court in Pensacola. The lawsuit, filed by the Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, alleged that the pension plan held about 97 percent of the medical company’s total assets, and between 2000 and 2006 Caputo used the fund for personal expenses and loans.
He paid for boat insurance, real estate investments, a motorcycle and motor home, vacations and gifts, the lawsuit contended. Caputo also paid for a divorce and covered the costs of his alimony with employee retirement money, the lawsuit said.
Caputo, 65, a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology whose office is on Redstone Avenue in Crestview, was not in the office Wednesday. Efforts to contact him for comment were not successful.
The lawsuit alleged that Caputo and Bankert violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by allowing the pension plan to purchase stock from participants at inflated prices. The men didn’t keep accurate records, didn’t allow older workers to diversify their account balances and didn’t take proper action to remedy misuse of company funds, it alleged.
Caputo and Bankert’s share of the pension fund was excluded from the amount they agreed to pay back, Labor Department spokesperson Lindsay Williams said. That is why the settlement calls for payment of about 25 percent of what the government claimed stolen.
The lawsuit also alleged the medical group’s accounting firm, Iowa-based Oden and Thielking, knew or should have known that the price of the medical group’s stock was inflated. The accounting firm was not a party to the consent judgment.
The judgment bars the defendants from ever overseeing another employee benefit plan subject to the Retirement Income Security Act, the news release said.
An “independent fiduciary” will be appointed to administer the existing plan, it said.
Contact Northwest Florida Daily News Staff Writer Tom McLaughlin at 850-315-4435 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomMnwfdn.