Shasta County-Based “Joined Inc.” CEO Pleads Guilty in Retirement Fund Embezzlement Scheme

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Maurice “Buddy” Shoe, 59, formerly of Palo Cedro, pleaded guilty today to one count of embezzlement from his employees’ retirement funds, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert  announced.

According to court documents, Shoe was the CEO of Joined Inc., a now defunct corporation based in Shasta County that provided student recruiting and retention services to Christian colleges and universities throughout the United States. The company provided a 401(k) retirement benefit plan for its employees. From February through November 2015, Shoe embezzled approximately $124,902.03 from the employee retirement benefit fund, protected under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), by withholding funds from employees’ paychecks for 401(k) contributions, but failing to forward those contributions to the 401(k) plan.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor – Employee Benefits Security Administration, San Francisco Regional Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Audrey Hemesath is prosecuting the case.

Shoe is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 8, 2022, by U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb. Shoe faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.