Is your boss stealing from your retirement account?

It's bad enough that our 401(k)s melted to a fraction of what they once were before the recession. Now we have to worry about employers stealing from our retirement plans. The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefit Security Administration has been cracking down on a series of 401(k) theft cases this summer.

In early July, for example, the department announced that it had received a consent judgment ordering defendant Eric C. Mitchell and his firm Eric C. Mitchell & Associates to restore more than $20,000 in employee contributions to their 401(k) accounts. Allegedly, Mitchell and his Bedford, N.H.-based company failed to forward employee contributions to their 401(k)s and instead used the money for other purposes.

Don't let your already-depleted retirement fund become a cookie jar for your boss. Greedy companies or those so desperate to pay bills that they snatch your contributions are out there, waiting to make you a victim. Even if you don't suspect any wrongdoing, be on the lookout.

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