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New York State-Based Payroll Company Accused Of Diverting $35M From Employee Accounts

NEW YORK (CBS) -- The FBI is investigating a New York State-based payroll company that abruptly shut down, leaving more than 250,000 employees across the country without paychecks.

"It hurts. This isn't something that we were prepared for," Tanya Willis told CBS' Anna Werner.

Willis says her animal rescue shelter is nearly at a standstill after her payroll company, "My Payroll HR," abruptly shut down.

"All of their phone lines were down and all of their social media accounts were wiped off," she said.

Last week, some of Willis' employees frantically called after finding recently deposited paychecks just vanished from their accounts.

"Between all of the employees, there was over $1,013,000 deducted between eight checking accounts," Willis said.

According to the Associated Press, Willis is one of about 5,000 business owners scrambling to pay workers.

A company that worked with My Payroll HR claims My Payroll HR diverted an estimated $35 million from employee accounts. Some accounts had multiple withdrawals, leaving many employees with negative balances.

Willis says one of her employee's accounts was over-drafted nearly $1 million.

"She had less than $1,000 in that account, so we want to know how is that even possible?" Willis said.

My Payroll HR and its CEO, Michael Mann, haven't returned calls to CBS News, but Cachet Financial Services, a company that worked with My Payroll HR, claims it is a victim of fraud by the company and that Mann or someone at My Payroll HR manipulated account numbers and moved workers' money into a personal account.

Willis' shelter rescues about 200 dogs a year, but she can't take in any more until they get the money back to fund it.

"I hope that there is a better answer other than somebody intentionally stole money and ran away with it," she said.

The FBI is asking for more potential victims to come forward.

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