Group turns to I-Team after paychecks go missing

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An emotional fight over missing paychecks. It prompted several employees, many working mothers, to contact the I-Team. (WLS)

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
An emotional fight over missing paychecks. It prompted several employees, many working mothers, to contact the I-Team.

They work for a company that gives rides to the sick and elderly.

Many of the employees who reached out to the I-Team are single mothers who rely on a steady paycheck.

They said when their employer stopped paying them, they turned to the I-Team.

"It really broke my heart because now I have to start over," said Rolanda Bell.

Rolanda Bell said she recently got off public assistance because she found her dream job at Johnson Global in south suburban Dalton driving elderly patients to their doctor appointments.

Several employees who called the I-Team said their boss owed them money. One person said she was only owed bounced check fees. But others claim paycheck money is due from as far back as January.

"So now I didn't have food for the children; my lights were due... It really affected me real bad because I'm by myself here in Chicago," said Bell.

Bell says she was owed about $1,300, but others said that the back pay has been higher - totaling as much as $4,200 for Danyelle Poston.

"That was my only means of income. It's only me and I have three kids. I can't pay my bills without a paycheck," said Danyelle Poston, who contacted the I-Team.

Several of them showed us checks they said bounced. All had complaints that they filed with the Department of Labor. Most said they eventually quit when the money stopped flowing.

"Struggling to pay mortgage... My family is suffering; and I refuse to give up without fighting her," said Jacqueline Barber when asked how not having a paycheck affected her.

So the I-Team called Johnson Global Corp. The owner, Tammy Johnson, said that employees were owed money but blamed a vendor who she said owed her money. Johnson agreed to an on camera interview in her office.

But when the I-Team's Jason Knowles got there...

Tammy Johnson: You didn't leave me your number because I need to reschedule; I'm working today because I had drivers call off.

Jason Knowles: I gave you my number.

Johnson: I don't have it sir, I was looking for it even on Facebook.

Knowles: Oh, okay. So you want to reschedule the interview?

Johnson: Yes, we do. But I didn't give him authorization for this.

Knowles: Well you invited us into your store.

Johnson: I still didn't give him authorization to...

Knowles: You invited us into your business, but now we'll leave.

She said she wanted to reschedule with her attorney by her side but she never did.

In an email Johnson said her company was paying debts and that employees were "embellishing and being dishonest about the chain of events to get a story and place pressure on [her]."

That the company and she "provide a service to the sick and assist the community" and never "evaded" or "cheated" anyone.

She also said she informed employees about her financial situation of what she calls "fraud" on "her" account, but most continued to work for her.

In addition, she says two people in this group were never owed money, but she had been making payments to the others and was almost caught up.

After we became involved five out of six of the former employees said they were paid their back wages. Many showed the I-Team pictures of cashier's checks from Johnson Global.

"I'm thrilled! I was able to catch up on some of my bills," said Danyelle Poston.

"I had to reach out to get help from somebody somewhere and once you all intervened that's when we received our money," said Jacqueline Barber.

In recent texts, the owner of the company said she's paid everyone who she said was owed money.

She added that most of the employees who came to the I-Team had worked for the company for more than a year and that they "never had an issue with any wages."

If you are having trouble getting paid you should file a complaint with the Department of Labor, or file a case in small claims court.
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