- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2020

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut businessman who cheated hundreds of his employees out of more than $3.3 million through phony administrators’ fees on their pension plans has been sentenced to 20 months in prison, federal prosecutors said.

Lee Ferguson, 62, of Farmington, was also sentenced Monday to a year of probation and ordered to pay a $200,000 fine. Ferguson, the owner and operator of Ferguson Electric and Ferguson Mechanical in Plainville, pleaded guilty in July to money laundering.

He deducted from $1.60 to $3.15 per hour from each employee’s benefits packages under the guise of “third-party administrative fees,” prosecutors said.

The fees went to TPA of Connecticut, a company Ferguson established and controlled. TPA of Connecticut, in turn, sent the money to DJS Associates, a company that Ferguson formed for the purported purpose of performing business consulting services, but which did no such thing.

Ferguson used the money for personal expenses, authorities said.

He cheated more than 300 employees and has already paid restitution, prosecutors said.

Ferguson apologized in court, saying he was ashamed and embarrassed by what he had done.

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