PLAINVILLE — The owner of two local contracting companies has pleaded guilty to money laundering after reportedly stealing $3.3 million from his employees’ pensions through fraudulent administrative fees.
Lee Ferguson, 62, of Farmington, is accused of stealing $3,357,516 from more than 300 employees of Ferguson Electric and Ferguson Mechanical, both based in Plainville. He waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty in Hartford federal court on Wednesday to one count of money laundering, for which he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years.
“Between approximately 2013 and 2017, Ferguson caused to be deducted approximately $1.60 to $3.15 per hour from each of his employee’s fringe benefits package as a “third party administrator fee” for the employees’ pension plans. Ferguson knew that the funds were not used to cover any administrative fees for the employees’ pension plans,” said a statement from the Department of Justice.
The statement says Ferguson channeled the money through two companies he formed, TPA of Connecticut and DJS Associates. The latter company was based in Florida and purportedly performed business-consulting services for Ferguson’s companies. “However, no such services were performed and Ferguson used the funds for personal expenses,” the statement said.
In a statement released by a personal spokesperson, Ferguson said he has resigned from both companies and relingquished all his interests.
“The crime that I pled guilty to today is the result of my actions, and mine alone. I take full and complete responsibility. At no time did anyone else at my former companies participate in or was aware of my actions or motives. I deeply regret any pain that this has caused my former employees and my family,” the release said.
Ferguson, who was released on $50,000 bond, is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 24.