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In an unusual statement, the SAG Pension and Health plan has come out swinging, unequivocally denying a recent media report that claimed that a federal probe is ongoing into alleged fraud, embezzlement and cover ups at the Plan, and that government officials raided or took documents from the Plan.
The claim is completely false and the story is “spurious,” said the Plan in a statement. “There is absolutely no validity to the story or to the underlying claim that any governmental officials have ‘raided’ the Plans or otherwise have taken any documents from the Plans,” said the statement.
In addition, the statement said that there is in process “a field audit . . . of (the) sort (that) are routine for benefit plans across the country.” A knowledgeable source told The Hollywood Reporter that this was the only ongoing investigation of which the Plan was aware, and that it was not triggered by any improprieties.
The source added that the audit began in 2010, and was the tenth such review of the Plan in the last 25 years.
Also untrue said the Plan was the media report’s claim that the Plan’s supposed Massachusetts offices were raided. “In fact,” the statement said, “the Plans do not have an office in Massachusetts.”
Although the statement did not identify the media outlet involved, the only such report is two items by Deadline Hollywood, which were published Thursday and last week.
The Thursday item claimed that “federal investigators last week and this week arrived at SAG P&H Plan offices in Southern California and in Massachusetts and carried out several dozen boxes of paperwork to unmarked cars waiting outside.” As noted above, the Plan expressly denied the claim.
That item also said that “a few weeks earlier a man identifying himself as an investigator came into the offices at 4 PM with a copy machine on big dolly and spent 4 to 5 hours Xeroxing documents.” A knowledgeable source told THR that no such thing occurred.
The two sources spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitive nature of the matter. They noted that the claims came against the backdrop of the ongoing merger vote, in which opponents of SAG/AFTRA merger have argued that SAG pension and health benefits would be impaired if the unions merge.
In other news, a knowledgeable source told THR that Plan CEO Bruce Dow is expected to return to work as early as next week, ending a medical leave that began in January.
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