LANSING, Mich. — Lansing business owner Camron Gnass has been convicted of larceny and ordered to pay $798 in fines after he was charged in a payroll fraud case two years ago.
He was sentenced last week by Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina. Rather than ordering probation, Aquilina credited him for the two years he spent on bond release.
In 2019, Gnass was charged by state Attorney General Dana Nessel for taking more than $52,000 from employees' retirement accounts from 2008 to 2017. During that time, he also failed to pay about $25,250 for the employer's contribution to those accounts.
Gnass claimed this was a payroll and accounting systems error following the U.S. Department of Labor investigation and has since paid more than $78,000 in missed contributions to a retirement plan and $8,195 in "lost opportunity costs."
Gnass owns both Vision Creative Inc. and Traction Inc.
“All the money withheld was paid to the employee accounts four months before I even knew I was under investigation by the (Attorney General), of which I learned through a press release," Gnass wrote in a statement. "The remaining money that was to be matched and the missed accrued interest was paid back by December 2019.
Gnass said he had been working with the affected employees, "who were both colleagues and friends," to bring the issue to resolution, characterizing it as an "accounting error."
The case was resolved in May when Gnass pleaded guilty to three counts of larceny by conversion. Prosecutors dropped 10 other counts.
“This theft denied beneficiaries their hard-earned retirement savings and eroded their trust that their employer will forward automatic payroll contributions to benefit plans and manage those funds in their best interest as the law requires,” said Employee Benefits Security Administration Regional Director L. Joe Rivers in a statement. “The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration is committed to ensuring the integrity of employee benefit programs and prosecuting those who violate the law.”
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