Calif. Man Convicted of Embezzling $550K from Payroll Service

A 35-year-old Watsonville, California man was convicted of felony embezzlement Tuesday after he skimmed money from two San Jose companies and left them delinquent on their taxes.

Jason Matthew Haas was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison and ordered to pay $550,000 in restitution, authorities said.

The trouble started in June 2011, when the owner of Bite of Wyoming restaurant on Alum Rock Avenue in San Jose contacted San Jose police about possible embezzlement from its payroll service, said Watsonville police Sgt. Eric Taylor.

The restaurant used a payroll business called Payroll Management Group, which Haas worked for. It had an office on Rio Del Pajaro Court in Watsonville.

“Haas was skimming money off the books and not paying payroll taxes, which alerted the IRS,” Taylor said.

San Jose police forwarded a report to Watsonville police detective Charles Bailey, who conducted an extensive investigation.

In October 2012, another San Jose business came forward with a similar complaint of embezzlement.

Royal Coach Tours, a charter bus company, said Haas and Payroll Management Group stole more than $520,000 from March to September 2012. The company also was delinquent on its taxes, according to police.

Police at the time said Haas used payroll software to convert Royal Coach payroll tax money into checks made out to Payroll Management Group.

In November 2012, Watsonville police arrested Haas at his Watsonville home on suspicion of grand theft.

Tuesday, Haas was convicted of two counts of felony grand theft and one count of felony embezzlement.


IRS Employees Just Say No! to Obamacare

Obamacare has few friends, if any, and hardly anyone likes having it around. Obamacare is like an ugly, socially awkward kid who transfers into grade school at mid-year and then spends the rest of the semester eating alone in the cafeteria while being giggled about by all the other pupils.

Obamacare is now so unpopular that even the IRS?s workers have turned on it. Amid the political-profiling, lavish-expense, and undeserved-bonus scandals plaguing America?s most hated federal agency, one would think the IRS would welcome any friend it could find. But even America?s federal tax-collection bureaucracy is bailing on Obamacare.

The National Treasury Employees Union represents IRS workers, among others at that cabinet department. Although the IRS is slated to become the brass knuckles behind Obamacare (with attendant increases in its budget and payroll), the NTEU has urged its members to write their senators and representatives and ask them to oppose H.R. 1780. Sponsored by House Ways and Means Committee chairman David Camp (R., Mich.), this bill would shift Uncle Sam?s workers from their current enrollment in the federal health system into Obamacare?s notorious exchanges. Evidently, that is too much government ? even for this crowd.

The NTEU offered its members a sample


Employers Get a Little Breathing Room With Postponement of Employer Mandate

As employers scrambled to meet looming deadlines under the health care reform law in hopes of averting a predicted disaster, the Obama administration hit the brakes on a key provision of the law.


In a surprise announcement on July 2, the U.S. Treasury Department said on its blog that enforcement of the employer mandate requiring employers to provide their workers with affordable health insurance is postponed until 2015.


“I was somewhat surprised, but it clearly looked like we were heading toward what Sen. [Max] Baucus called a train wreck,” said Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health. “When large employers institute any kind of change, even minor ones, they need at least a year’s lead time and sometimes two. We’ve been feeling a growing anxiety that this wasn’t going to happen. It’s an enormous relief.”


The employer mandate, also called the “pay or play” provision, was supposed to go into effect Jan. 1, 2014. The individual mandate requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance is still in effect for 2014.


Under the Affordable Care Act, companies with 50 or more workers face a fine of up to $3,000 per employee if they don’t offer health insurance to full-time workers. But many employers say that determining who is a full-time employee and therefore eligible and whether their plans meet the law’s affordability requirements is a complex and time-consuming process.


“There are a lot of steps to this,” said J.D. Piro, a senior vice president at Aon Hewitt in Lincolnshire, Illinois. “The law was passed in 2010, but the nuts and bolts of it have only come down in the past six to eight months.”


Indeed, the lack of guidance from the federal agencies responsible for implementing reform?namely the Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service and Department of Health and Human Services?has been a chief complaint among employers.


“The irony is that employers don’t know what they’re grappling with because the government hasn’t really been clear,” Darling said. “They were not getting the details out of what the reporting requirements are.”


She urges human resources practitioners and benefits managers to use the extra time to review any changes they were planning to make to their benefit plans for 2014 and determine if any modifications are needed.


While the delay gives employers some breathing room, they still need to figure out what to communicate to employees and what to report to the federal government, she said.


In addition to the individual mandate, the deadline for the establishment of state health exchanges remains on track. Starting Oct. 1, the health insurance marketplaces will be open for business, and employers are required to give workers information on where to go to sign up.


Wage and Hour Claims Among Top Threats to U.S. Employers

Wage and Hour Claims Among Top Threats to U.S. Employers.


Workplace Wellness Programs: Who Really Benefits? | American Society on Aging

Tags : Aging TodayBusinessPhysical HealthEducation

By Lydia Mitts

The baby boom generation is aging, as is America?s workforce. By 2018, one in every four workers?in the nation will be at least 55 years old. Developing effective health promotion interventions?for these workers will be crucial to maintaining a healthy and productive workforce.?

Evidence-based workplace wellness programs that offer tools to support healthy aging can help?older workers maintain active lives. Research shows that offering free support and activities, such?as nutrition classes or walking clubs, can help workers make healthy lifestyle changes. One study?in the American Journal of Public Health by Hughes et al. (101: 2011) found that certain supports,?like in-person health coaching, are particularly effective for older workers.

via Workplace Wellness Programs: Who Really Benefits? | American Society on Aging.


Unemployment Insurance System Broken

May 10, 2013

Unemployment Insurance System Broken, Employer Federal UI Tax Increasing
California Debt to Federal Unemployment Fund
Exceeds $10 Billion

The California Chamber of Commerce and a number of employer groups are working to raise awareness of the plight of the state?s unemployment insurance (UI) system, as evidenced by the outstanding debt to the federal government.

California continues to have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and economists predict a slow recovery. The state needs a sustainable UI system that protects both workers who are temporarily unemployed through no fault of their own, and employers trying to put people back to work.

Federal Tax Increasing

Cumulative Impact: State UI Taxes will Escalate
as Long as California Owes Federal Unemployment Debt
Tax increases continue until debt is paid or tax rate reaches 6%.

California employers? federal UI tax is increasing dramatically. In accordance with federal law, all the increase goes toward paying down California?s $10.9 billion debt.

California?s UI Trust Fund has been insolvent since 2009, and the state has been borrowing from the federal unemployment account to continue paying benefits to unemployed Californians.

The increasing tax is the same for all employers, regardless of experience, size or industry.

Both federal and state UI taxes are paid entirely by employers on the first $7,000 in wages paid to each employee annually.

Generally, employers receive a credit against the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) tax rate.

Due to California?s outstanding debt, however, California employers are now subject to a credit reduction, which results in a federal tax increase on employers.

For each year the state?s loan remains unpaid, an employer?s FUTA credit is reduced by 0.3%, resulting in a tax increase.

Cumulative Impact

The table below illustrates the cumulative impact on California employers. Each 0.3% of credit reduction is equal to a federal tax increase of approximately $21 per employee per year.

Taking Control

California needs to take control, and the business community is taking an active role in approaching the UI problem in a way that is equitable, preserves the integrity of the system and protects the safety net.

The business community is committed to working with the administration in developing a comprehensive, realistic, workable solution that won?t hinder job creation and economic recovery for the state, is equitably applied, and includes needed reforms.

The solution must be consistent with other states.

System reform must address fraud, overpayments and benefit eligibility, and is necessary to ensure future solvency.


Medicare charges vary widely at California hospitals, new data show -

Medicare charges vary widely at California hospitals, new data show -

Ask Emily: New insurance exchanges |

Ask Emily: New insurance exchanges |


Employers must be proactive in health care reform communication

Employers must be proactive in health care reform communication


New Form I-9 Released for Use

The long awaited and anticipated Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 was released Friday March, 8th 2013.

Employers should begin using this form right away. Usage of some earlier versions will be permitted for the next 2 months. Older forms dated 02/02/09 and 08/07/09 will be accepted until May 7, 2013. After May 7, 2013, only the 03/08/13 will be accepted. The revision date is on the lower left corner of the form.

There are new areas included on the form for :

1. Preparer and/or Translator Certification and

2. Re-verification and Rehires

Here is a link to the new form:

as well as to the new 70 page Handbook available to explain how to use the new form:

Fun Fact: Did you know that a new hire is not required to provide their Social Security Number on the Form I-9 unless your company is using the E-Verify System, or unless, of course, if they have selected their Social Security Card as a form of documentation for employment purposes?