On March 25, 2009, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced that it had filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Newport News, Virginia alleging that former NFL player Michael Vick (“Vick”) and others violated ERISA by making series of prohibited transfers from a defined benefit pension plan sponsored by one of his companies. The DOL simultaneously filed an adversary complaint in federal bankruptcy court to prevent Vick from discharging his alleged debt to the retirement plan.
According to the DOL, Vick violated his duties as a plan trustee under ERISA by making a series of transfers from the plan for his own benefit. The plan assets were partially used to help pay the criminal restitution imposed upon Vick after his conviction for dog fighting and his attorney fees in the bankruptcy cases. The DOL alleges that Vick made and caused $1.35 million in improper withdrawals from the retirement plan.