In FY 2017, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) recovered $1.1billion in direct payment to plans, participants and beneficiaries. EBSA reviewed fewer cases but the amount recovered is larger compared to the $777.5 million in total recoveries in fiscal year 2016.

EBSA has been able to achieve these higher fines with fewer audits mainly due to two factors.  One is an increase in the amount for fines. The other is EBSA’s use of data algorithms that can scour Form 5500s, the benefit documentation that employers must provide to the government, and other sources (such as filings for bankruptcy, news reports of companies going out of business and complaints from plan participants) to find discrepancies that raise red flags for an audit, according to EBSA.

EBSA’s full report on its activities in 2017 can be viewed here.

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