MADISON — A Janesville man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to embezzlement in connection with theft of $25,194 from an employee pension plan.
David R. Biggerstaff, 55, told District Judge Barbara Crabb that while he was president of Premier Vending, he withheld funds taken from employee paychecks but didn't forward them to the workers' 401(k) retirement plans.
"It was my final decision," Biggerstaff said in response to a question from Crabb.
An indictment issued in August alleged Biggerstaff failed to remit the employee pension contributions between October 2007 and January 2009.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Jarosz said the embezzlement affected about 15 employees of the now defunct company.
Premier Vending was known as Owen Vending before 2006.
The Department of Labor began investigating the offense when an employee complained about funds missing from his retirement account, Jarosz said.
Biggerstaff sent a form to the department in 2009 that Premier Vending was $26,163 in arrears on its employee pension plan, Jarosz said.
Neither Biggerstaff nor his attorney, Gerald Mowris, disputed Jarosz's statements Thursday.
In an April 2011 consent order filing in court, Biggerstaff agreed to repay $31,204 for breaching his fiduciary responsibilities and failing to remit withheld employee contributions to his workers' retirement plan. The amount included $26,163 in employee contributions and $5,041 in loss opportunity costs.
Biggerstaff also agreed to offset the employee loss by forfeiting the amount in his retirement account.
Biggerstaff filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in August 2010.
Biggerstaff faces maximum statutory penalties of five years in prison, three years supervised release and restitution that will be determined by his March 21 sentencing.
Crabb continued Biggerstaff's release, but imposed conditions.