CBS 58 Investigates: Who's not paying taxes?
Hundreds of million dollars is owed to the state of Wisconsin by people who aren't paying their taxes.
State law requires the Wisconsin Department of Revenue to publish a list of everyone who owes more than $5000. The list currently has about 18,000 names.
Four of the top five people on the list live out of state. Number five is David Longrie and his company Carpet Warehouse. The list says he lives in Texas and answered our call but declined to comment and hung up.
Number four on the list Ali Shanaa, who owes 4.3 million.
Number three is Daniel Bishop, who owns several adult video stores. He owes about $4.4 million. CBS 58 Investigates tried to track him down at his shop in Pleasant Prairie, Sheridan News and Video. We also went to the address listed by the state, DLB purchasing, the man who answered the door claimed Bishop wasn't there.
Number 2 on the list is Edward Van Der Molen who owes $4.9 million. Number one is Van Der Molen's company which owes another $4.9 million. All listed phone numbers for Van Der Molen are disconnected.
The Department of Revenue says publicly outing delinquent tax payers is just one method they use to try and collect.
“We prefer softer methods, so we'll do things like if we can find a bank account or an employer, we'll garnish wages or we may levy the bank account,” said Catherine Bink, director of the Compliance Bureau for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. “If we still don't get response, we may send someone out to knock on their door.”
But racking up hundreds of thousands-even millions-of dollars in debt, doesn't typically result in criminal charges. Why? A lack of resources.
“We can pursue criminal charges,” Bink said. “It's pretty rare. It has to be a strong case because DA's have a lot of really bad crimes that they're dealing with.”
That's good news for some who are on the list-and know they're never getting off, like Nicholas Itsines owes about $1.1 million.
“It wasn't my fault,” Istines said. “I had a resident lease out and the guy never paid the taxes. They used my tax number and I tried to go to court, and I ran out of money. “I lost my house, I lost everything.”
We asked Istines how he feels about his name being published online.
“I don't care anymore,” Istines said. “I'm too old to worry about it. I'm 78, so I don't have much time left, you know?”
Others tell CBS 58 Investigates they're trying to make things right, like John Krummel who owes almost $600,000.
“I know that's been dealt, it's being dealt with I know what, Krummel said. “My wife is dealing with it, yes.”
In total delinquent tax payers owe about $734 million, though the Department of Revenue estimates the amount the state could realistically collect, is less than half of that.
“As of the end of fiscal year 2017, our collectible balance that we estimate was $304 million,” Bink said. “That's what we feel is collectible, that we feel we could collect over time as we have the resources.”