Highlands County Doctor Sentenced to Prison on Pension Fund Theft Charges
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Isabel Colon, Regional Director of the Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), Atlanta Regional Office, announce that defendant Alfred Robert Massam, 69, of Polk County, who practiced orthopedic surgery in Sebring, Highlands County, was sentenced today in federal court on charges of theft of federally protected pension funds. Massam had previously pled guilty to misappropriating more than $1.2 million of pension plan funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 664.
At today’s hearing, U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez sentenced Massam to 24 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release. In addition, Massam was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and $147,478 in restitution to the former employee pension fund participants defrauded by his conduct.
On September 15, 2011, defendant Massam was indicted on charges of pension fund theft, money laundering, and making a false statement to federal investigators. According to documents filed with the court and statements made during the plea and sentencing hearing, Massam embezzled for his own use money and assets of employee benefit pension plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Massam diverted more than $1.2 million in pension fund money by wire transfer to a European bank in Austria, then used the money for his personal benefit, including to pay for divorce, bankruptcy, and living expenses and operating expenses for his practice.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “When funds are stolen from employee benefit programs, not only do workers lose their hard-earned money, but the public also loses confidence in our financial markets. We will continue to aggressively prosecute financial fraud schemes, punish the fraudsters, and obtain restitution for the victims.”
“Theft of employee benefit assets jeopardizes the benefits of workers. This case reaffirms the Labor Department’s commitment to protect workers’ benefits by identifying criminal activity wherever and whenever it occurs,” said Isabel Colon, Regional Director of EBSA’s Atlanta Regional Office and the Miami District Office.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Department of Labor, EBSA. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Cooperstein.