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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Bay Area Resident Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud And Embezzlement From Employee Pension Plan

Defendant fraudulently transferred pension plan assets to his personal bank account

SAN FRANCISCO – William Ace Remas pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco to wire fraud and embezzlement charges related to the misappropriation of funds from an ERISA pension plan over which he presided as trustee, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, San Francisco Regional Director Klaus Placke.  The guilty plea was accepted by the Honorable Vince Chhabria, U.S. District Judge.

A federal grand jury indicted Remas, 79, of Larkspur, Calif., on April 30, 2019.  Remas was charged with four counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and two counts of theft or embezzlement from an employee pension benefit plan, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 664.  Remas pled guilty to all counts. 

According to the indictment, in 1994, Remas formed a pension plan for the employees of his companies, and as the sole trustee, Remas had the ability to disburse funds from the plan accounts.  The indictment alleges that, between approximately January 2013 and April 2016, Remas unlawfully transferred plan funds totaling $550,542.88—nearly all of the assets held in the plan accounts—to his personal bank account.  The indictment further alleges that Remas made these transfers without the knowledge of the plan participants and that he concealed his actions by, among other things, failing to inform plan participants that he had fraudulently initiated payments from the plan to himself. 

Judge Chhabria scheduled a status conference regarding Remas’s sentencing for April 21, 2020.  The maximum statutory penalty for each wire fraud count is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution.  The maximum statutory penalty for each theft or embezzlement count is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution.  However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason Kleinwaks and Michael Rodriguez are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Morgan Byrne.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Financial Fraud
Labor & Employment
Updated February 21, 2020