Missing Money

Seven On Your Side
November 1, 2010 2:40:48 PM PDT
The New Jersey woman was doing all the right things, contributing the maximum to her retirement savings. But, when her company took her hard earned pay and kept it, instead of investing it, she she sounded the call to save her savings. 12 cents. It doesn't go very far, but that's all Karen Brooks has to show for her retirement savings for all of last year. There's one big problem. Last year Karen was maxxing out her 401(k) payments each paycheck. Nearly $400 was taken out by her employer each paycheck. At the end of 2009 she should've had $22,000 saved. But somehow the money got hijacked before getting to her investment company - Fidelity. "I bulked up at the beginning of the year to maximize on the amount of money I could gain on what I had," says Karen Brooks. And where is the rest of Karen's retirement money? "I don't know. I don't have it. And it's not in my account." Karen worked for Hurley Consulting Associates, a international drug development firm in Chatham. At first the company stopped matching, then last year, stopped contributing all together. Finally, Karen was let go and had nothing to fall back on. "I spoke with my employer and they said well they're getting to it," said I had good faith they were going to be honest." After her calls to get her money were ignored, Karen hired an attorney. His letter went unanswered. She went to the U.S. Labor Department. It said just one case of misappropriated funds wasnt enough to warrant a federal lawsuit. So we called Hurley consulting. The chief financial officer, Joseph Cantwell, is also the owner's husband. He said the company was having financial problems and Karen wasn't the only employee whose 401(k) was missing money. The CFO wouldn't go on camera, stating the company was struggling to fund other employees retirement accounts, but promised to deposit Karen's missing money the following week. And today when she checked, her financial future got a whole lot brighter. After one year of getting a penny a month, the full amount of her 401(K) funded. Karen doesn't know and the company won't tell us how many other employees are owed retirement cash. But Karen wanted her story told to alert investors, you need to check every month, and report your company if your money isn't going where it's not supposed to. CONNECT WITH NINA PINEDA AND 7 ON YOUR SIDE

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