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.