SILVERLAKE (CBSLA.com) — The owner of a local payroll company, used by dozens of businesses in the Southland, has vanished — along with millions of dollars in missing money.
Businesses are saying the payroll company, LA Payroll, which was responsible for handling their payroll taxes, stole tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars from each company before completely disappearing.
“I went through the stages of, first, denial and shock, and then when the (taxes were due), and I got notices, then I realized that this was really serious,” Zack Grey, who owns the store The Urban Pet, said. “And it’s a big blow.”
LA Payroll’s owner, Tovmas Grigoryan, who allegedly bought the firm in January 2013, took money from the businesses, that was supposed to pay off federal and state taxes, and kept it for himself. Meanwhile, Girgoryan reportedly told the businesses that their taxes were being paid.
When asked just how much his business had lost, Grey responded, “I lost about eighty-seven thousand dollars.”
Grey said that, since July, no taxes were being paid to the IRS, but rather, they were being funneled into an account.
By the time the businesses picked up on this fact, however, it was too late.
The owner of Brighter Dental in Beverly Hills, who also says he was cheated by Grigoryan, started a Facebook page for victims to share their stories.
Some businesses are reporting losses as high as $350,000, with an estimated total of $8 million missing.
Meanwhile, LA Payroll’s offices in Wilshire were shutdown around the time Grigoryan disappeared, towards the end of the year.
While the business owners are seeking help from police, and even national security, the IRS says that tax money is still due.