Jay Jones, former executive vice president of defunct debt buyer Commercial Financial Services Inc. (CFS), owes approximately $2.6 million to the state of Oklahoma, according to the state's Tax Commission, which last month began posting outstanding tax warrants online.
CFS, which was based in Tulsa, Okla., failed in 1999, putting 3,600 employees out of work. The circumstances surrounding the failure led to a federal grand jury indictment of Jones and Bill Bartmann, the company's CEO. The men were accused of creating a shell company, Dimat Corp., to inflate the performance of CFS.
Bartmann was acquitted and last year jumped back into the debt-buying industry. Collections & Credit Risk detailed his latest venture in a story published in March. Jones pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and was sentenced to five years in prison. Federal Bureau of Prisons records show he was released in 2007.
In 2008, the Oklahoma Tax Commission - with a hint of irony - hired a collection agency to get the unpaid taxes from Jones. Jones told reporters in 2008 that he had given all of his assets to the government before going to prison. He agreed to give up some wages if needed but said he had nothing else.
Jones is listed as one of Oklahoma's top ten delinquent taxpayers. All have had tax liens filed against them, according to a spokesperson with the Commission. One individual, Bruce Bonnett, owes more than $112 million. Bonnett was convicted on 58 counts of bank fraud in 1988 after a scam that included check kiting, overdrafts and insider loans. The scam resulted in the failure of the First National Bank of Sapulpa in 1987. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail and ordered to pay $800,000 to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Bonnett did not return calls for comment. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, he was released in March 2000.
Unlike other tax information, tax liens are public record. Individuals and businesses who can not or do not pay are given many opportunities to work out agreements with the agency. Often, the unpaid taxes are turned over to collectors. After attempts at settling the debts fail, the agency can file a tax lien in the county where the business or individual resides.
The Tax Commission sends out a letter 90 days before the information goes online. Penalties depend on the type of debt, and interest accrues at a rate of 15% annually, Paula Ross, spokesperson for the Oklahoma Tax Commission, tells Collections & Credit Risk.
So far, the list has not prompted any payments.