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U.S. Labor Department sues Turlock company
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A Turlock heating and air conditioning company is being sued by the U.S. Department of Labor on allegations they failed to pay employees pension and health benefits.

The lawsuit was lodged against Custom Air and was filed in the U.S. District Court in Fresno. It names D. L. Silva Inc., Daniel Silva, Dennette Dores and the estate of Dennis Silva as defendants.

The lawsuit claims the defendants failed to remit or collect $104,513 in employee and employer contributions owed to the company's plan in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The plan provides health and pension benefits to as many as 19 company employees, according to Jose Carnevali, spokesman for the Department of Labor in San Francisco.

The suit seeks a court order to require that the defendants restore to the plan all losses with interest and to permanently bar Daniel Silva and Dores from serving as fiduciaries or service providers to any plan governed by ERISA. The suit also seeks to appoint an independent fiduciary to administer and terminate the plan, if appropriate.

"Plan officials have a duty to manage and protect employees' benefit plans and their assets," said Jean Ackerman, regional director of the department's Employee Benefit Security Administration San Francisco Regional Office, which investigated this case. "Our action today is designed to restore the plan assets that were not properly preserved for the company's workers."

According to the Department of Labor, D.L.Silva Inc., filed for bankruptcy in 2007.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.