Thank you for you for the detailed explanation:
Somehow, I just wrote a response that does not appear. But, both employers are around, in fact. I work for the second of the two. Employer A, I worked with a long time. He became partners with who was an employee = B. They created company called A&B, P.A. Then A kind of retires, retreats from office, and B ultimately creates a compamy using the same name, but a fictitious name: B dba A&B. B then forms an LLC. I therefore, throughout the past few years, first getting paychecks under A company, then A&B, PA, then A&B, and now B LLC. So, the employers are around, and companies all appear on Div of Corp as active corporations. Problem is that the contract with 401K compamy was with Company A, yet they collected my contribution for almost two years, despite the various name changes on the payroll checks. So, they are around, but effectively in business? Only B LLC - who I am now employed by, who took over the business, and who disbursed my contributions to 401K Co. I don't know how to answer that otherwise. Employer A hired Employer B to maintain A's clients/customers. All I know, is I started contributing to the same 401K since the mid-90's and never once have I been told this was an issue, when the firm names started changing. Employer B LLC continued to send in my contributions. 401K company always sent a receipt of acknowledgement and allocation of investment. I hope this helps understand better, though may not change your response, though I hope there is something there. I have known these people a long time, and at best, XXXXX XXXXX do right by me simply because this type of financial burden is not something I am prepared for, not to mention the loss of investment opportunity in the alternative. The truth is, I also believe they are taking advantage of me by making me feel I have no recourses because of their own lazy inaction and irresponsible actions. Rather than wrap up business when Emp A should have, he instead took off from for a several month vacation, and now is telling me I am up that 'crappy' creek without a paddle.
I am sorry that your previous post was lost. It happens to me several times a day on this. The site is a little buggy.
Response: Yes, your explanation does change my response a little. While you are ultimately responsible for any penalties and taxes, you can indeed ask the employer who was directly sending your contributions to the 401k company for reimbursement of your penalties and taxes. I am not optimistic however about asking the company for reimbursement of your lost earnings from the returned contributions. That one may be just too steep a hill for you to climb.
Let me know if you need further clarification.