Los Angeles News
Payroll company allegedly rips off business owners
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Dozens of small-business owners owe hundreds of thousands in back taxes they thought were already paid. They say a company they hired to pay those taxes ripped them off.
Robert and Melissa Meltzer, the owners of a children's fitness center in Mid-City, say for 7 years, the accounting firm they had contracted had been paying their payroll taxes to the IRS. Then came notice from the IRS that they were in default. Six months of funds they had sent to the firm disappeared along with the owner.
"It's devastating. We are a really small family-owned business, and for us to be on the hook for over $50,000 is a lot of money that we just don't have," said Robert Meltzer.
Zack Grey, the owner of L.A. Urban Pet Supply, says he lost $87,000.
"I was completely speechless. How could this have happened?" said Grey.
Eyewitness News has learned that federal agents have visited the Mid-Wilshire office of the accounting firm called L.A. Payroll, now defunct. A former employee tells us the inquiry centers on the company's owner, 56-year-old Tovmas Grigoryan.
Court documents show a bankruptcy filing in 2005. He claimed his annual income had been $25,000.
The former employee says Grigoryan left on vacation and never came back. But they knew there was a problem after the company received late tax notices from the state tax board and IRS and clients started receiving similar notices. They believe up to $4 million had been taken from 150 clients.
Grey showed us a paper trail. What appeared to be proof that his payroll taxes had been sent to the IRS and the state employment department turned out to be bogus.
We made repeated inquiries to the Los Angeles Police Department about this case. We have not heard back about whether or not they are carrying out an investigation. As for the FBI, a spokeswoman says they never confirm or deny any investigations.
los angeles news, miriam hernandez
- Gusty winds elevate fire dangers in SoCal
- Compton teachers call in sick, want pay raise
- Bizarre East LA bank robbery trial begins
- Malaysia air force: Jet may have turned back
- Business leaders concerned about LADWP
- Roommate arrested in Westmont homicide
- 39-year-old man found dead in Apple Valley
- 5 measles cases in Orange County confirmed
- 5-alarm fire destroys San Francisco building
- Colorado triple homicide: Friend arrested
- abcnews: Family calls 911, held hostage by pet cat
- Elderly man fights off burglar with hammer
- Obama pushes health care on Funny or Die
- OTRC: Keith Richards releasing children's book