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Better Business Bureau boots Paybooks

Paybooks Inc. has been kicked out of the Better Business Bureau, the independent non-profit business-watchdog agency said Friday.  

A Rochester-based payroll company, Paybooks was targeted in a June civil suit by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo, who won an order freezing Paybooks’ assets. Cuomo alleges Paybooks president Jeffrey Sykes ran the business as a kind of Ponzi-like scheme in which Sykes took money from clients’ payroll accounts to pay his own business and personal expenses, replacing the allegedly stolen funds with money taken in from later clients. Last month a Monroe County grand jury handed up a criminal indictment against Sykes, accusing the Paybooks president of misappropriating some $2 million in client funds.

In addition to charges leveled against Paybooks, the BBB cited the payroll firm’s failure to respond to customer complaints as a reason for pulling the firm’s BBB accreditation and lowering its BBB letter grade to a failing F. 

Also ousted from the BBB is AES Landscapes Inc., a Livonia-based concrete, masonry and landscaping company, the agency added. BBB cited two reasons for removing AES Landscapes from its list of approved businesses: that the firm did not comply with BBB standards and that it had failed to resolve complaints.

In its A-to-F grading system, BBB gives AES Landscapes a C-.

(c) 2009 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to reprint this article.


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