Firefighters’ Bank Accounts Allegedly Drained By Payroll Company

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, Fla. — While Friday typically means payday, first responders in Indian Rocks Beach are still trying to get their money back after several reports claim a payroll company took $35 million from workers across the country.

“I opened up my phone and looked at my account and I was about $2,000 in the hole,” said Douglas Higley, a lieutenant paramedic for Pinellas Suncoast Fire Rescue.

“It is frustrating. We have a lot to deal with in our jobs as it is, so adding that to it adds a little bit more stress,” Asst. Chief John Mortellite said.

Mortellite said their checks disappeared not once, but twice. On August 30th, they were paid, but when MyPayrollHR went bankrupt last week, he said the payroll was reversed two days in a row.

According to Associated Press and CBS News, about 5,000 businesses were hit this month after the New York-based company went bankrupt and allegedly took about 35 million dollars from accounts all over the country.

“Everybody got double hit. Many of our firefighters were showing negative balances at the time,” Mortellite said.

“Some people live paycheck-to-paycheck, which can be difficult, especially if you have a big family,” Higley said.

Mortellite said the Pinellas Suncoast Fire Rescue is finding a new company to process payroll, but the first priority is getting everyone paid.

“The timing of the incident was suspect in the fact that being the first of the month, a lot of people did have a lot of bills going out on that Friday. I was one who ended up having several bills that went into overdraft,” Mortellite said. “Banks have been working with us. Most everyone at this point has had all their money either stopped or put back in their accounts. It’s nothing that anybody should have to deal with.”

The FBI is investigating this case, and is looking for anyone else affected by this to come forward.


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