An Oct. 19 ruling by a U.S. District Court judge in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA ) case demonstrates that retirement plan administrators are in a bad spot when confronted with beneficiaries whom they suspect of gaming the system to access retirement payments, several experts say.

The case, The Continental Pilots Retirement Administrative Committee, et al. v. Glenn Brown, et al., involves a group of Continental Airlines senior pilots who allegedly obtained “sham divorces” to receive early payment of benefits from their retirement plan.

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