Vanishing payroll boss charged in $70M bank fraud scheme

The elusive boss at the center of the MyPayrollHR’s collapse was charged Monday for allegedly committing a multi-million dollar bank fraud scheme.

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Michael Mann, the 49-year-old president of MyPayrollHR's parent company ValueWise, was arrested Monday afternoon after allegations of criminal conduct involving MyPayrollHR arose. Just last week, federal agents executed a search warrant at Mann's lakefront New York home "in connection to a federal investigation."

According to the criminal complaint, Mann used fake companies to fraudulently obtain at least $70 million in loans from banks and other financial institutions. He launched his scheme sometime between 2010 or 2011.

The cloud-based payroll processing firm suddenly shut down operations earlier this month, vanishing with millions of payroll funds from customer businesses. MyPayrollHR processed payroll and tax payments for approximately 1,000 small-business clients located across the country.

The demise of the company sent shock waves through the U.S. leaving thousands of employees in the dark about paychecks they expected to receive and money that disappeared from their accounts.

The company alerted its clients with a cryptic message saying it would be closing its doors and that companies relying on the firm to process payroll payments were instructed to find another means to provide such services.

On Sept. 5, operations ceased after Mann’s bank accounts at Pioneer Bank and Bank of America were frozen. That impacted MyPayrollHR’s clients since Mann diverted the client’s payroll payments to accounts he controlled.

MyPayrollHR processed payrolls through the Automated Clearing House network. Cachet Financial Services, based in California, routed payments from MyPayroll’s clients to the clients’ employees in accordance with instructions provided by MyPayrollHR. Cachet's general counsel Wendy Slavkin confirmed to FOX Business that around Sept. 5, MyPayrollHR failed to route employers’ payroll payments to Cachet, which was responsible for replenishing the missing funds, setting Cachet back more than $20 million.

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Mann appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart Monday and was released on bond with pretrial supervision conditions. If convicted, Mann faces up to 30 years in prison, a maximum $1 million fine, and up to five years of post-release supervision. 

Meanwhile, the FBI bureau in Albany is continuing to seek information from people and businesses who may have been impacted.