Every year, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), a Department of Labor agency responsible for protecting the integrity of private retirement, health and welfare plans, recovers hundreds of millions of dollars for workers who have been deprived of their rightful benefits by private-sector employers or plan fiduciaries.
As a senior EBSA investigator based in Kansas City, Anna Dozier ensures that workers receive the pension, health and welfare benefits they have earned. She has been on the frontlines of numerous civil and criminal investigations of company executives and plan fiduciaries who have mismanaged or illegally diverted funds, leaving employees in a lurch.
“For Anna, it’s giving citizens the opportunity to retire with dignity. Her passion lies in protecting people who have worked hard and have managed to put money aside for retirement,” said Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. “Public service is in her DNA.”
In a recent investigation, a Montana company that sold electronics and appliances to consumers declared bankruptcy, causing the retirement accounts in an Employee Stock Ownership Plan to become worthless.
Dozier conducted an exhaustive investigation, pouring through financial records and email correspondence, and conducting numerous interviews. She discovered multiple transactions by executives that caused the company’s demise. Dozier prepared a 55-page letter documenting federal pension law violations, worked with a U.S. bankruptcy trustee and Labor Department’s lawyers in a civil lawsuit filed against the plan’s fiduciaries, resulting in the payment of more than $4.6 million to the Employee Stock Ownership Plan, which will benefit nearly 200 employees.
“When Anna walked into a room full of the company’s employees at the end of the lawsuit, everyone gave her a standing ovation. She gave these employees hope after a horrible situation and helped turn their lives around,” said Perez.
In 2008, Dozier investigated a large self-funded health plan established by several companies that shared common ownership. Dozier discovered that the health plan was operating in violation of the law because employee and employer contributions used to fund premiums were not placed in a trust. She also found that fees received by the service provider were excessive. Due to her investigation, more than $1.2 million was paid and material changes were made to the structure of the health plan so that it would operate for the exclusive benefit of the participants.
“Anna demonstrates the impact we can have on people’s lives through our daily work,” said James Purcell, EBSA’s regional director in Kansas City.
Purcell said that because of her abilities and insights, Dozier is regularly assigned the most challenging cases, those that involve complicated fact patterns where violations are neither readily apparent nor easily corrected.
In another case, Dozier conducted a protracted criminal investigation of an individual who administered two retirement plans and a health plan with assets of more than $8 billion. Dozier’s investigation revealed that the plan administrator awarded lucrative construction work to companies owned by his friend and gained a personal benefit.
The case was referred to the Department of Justice, which resulted in three indictments, three guilty pleas and payment to the plans by an insurance provider of $1.2 million to settle the financial losses in connection with the criminal wrongdoing.
Dozier is currently investigating a financial service provider which maintains millions of dollars in plan assets. In this case, Dozier has identified potential violations regarding investments that may have caused significant losses to employee benefit plans.
All told, it is estimated that Dozier’s work has affected more than 64,000 employee benefit plan participants, and involved protecting some $54 million in pension, health and welfare plan assets.
John True, a supervisory EBSA investigator in Kansas City, said Dozier is “a tremendous role model for our office,” and someone who others want to work with because they can learn so much. He said she is “a consummate professional, self-motivated and always dedicated to helping the American worker.”
Dozier said she never wants to disappoint employees who have been harmed by the misconduct of their employers or benefit plan fiduciaries, and works hard to uncover every fact possible to build a strong and successful case.
“I work for an agency where we can make a difference in the lives of the American people,” said Dozier. “I’m very proud of the job I hold.”