Entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author Kristina L. Roberts, known by the pen name Zane, owes the state of Maryland $340,833.58, earning her the number one spot on the state’s individual delinquent taxpayers list.

State Comptroller Peter Franchot released the names of the top 25 individual and business tax scofflaws on Jan. 27. Together, the individuals and businesses owe the state almost $15 million in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest, according to a statement from Franchot.

Franchot publishes the names of the top tax evaders as part of his “Caught in the Web” program, which seeks to pressure tax scofflaws into paying what they owe.

“The Caught in the Web program highlights the small number of Marylanders who have chosen to take advantage of the benefits of this great state, but who make a conscious effort to avoid paying taxes,” said Franchot in the statement. “These are not people simply down on their luck and unable to pay, but individuals and business owners who knowingly thumb their noses at the vast majority of Maryland taxpayers who fulfill their legal obligations to the state.”

Roberts lives in Upper Marlboro in Prince George’s County. According to her Facebook page, she has written 30 books, is publisher of Strebor Books/ATRIA/Simon and Schuster and is the creator, scriptwriter and executive producer of two cable TV series—Zane’s Sex Chronicles and Zane’s The Jump Off—on Cinemax. Strebor is Roberts spelled backwards.

Roberts could not be reached for comment.

Since the “Caught in the Web” program started 14 years ago, the state comptroller’s office has collected more than $27 million from delinquent taxpayers whose names appeared on one of the agency’s lists.

When an individual fails to pay their taxes, the comptroller first notifies them by letter that specifies the amount they owe. If the tax payer fails to pay up, the comptroller has several options: filing a lien; garnishing the taxpayer’s wages; blocking renewal of their state business, professional and occupational licenses; attaching assets; and taking state and federal tax refunds to satisfy the debt, among other options.

Before the list is posted, the taxpayers who have been listed are notified so they have ample time to make arrangements or pay the back taxes, the statement said.

This year’s list includes 11 people who live outside of Maryland, including one from D.C.; six Prince George’s County residents; two Montgomery County residents; two Howard County residents; and one resident each from Anne Arundel, Baltimore city, Baltimore County and Queen Anne County.

The individual list can be viewed at: http://comptroller.marylandtaxes.com/Media_Services/wp-content/upLoads/CITW_Indiv-Jan-2014.pdf.

The business evaders list can be viewed at: http://comptroller.marylandtaxes.com/Media_Services/wp-content/upLoads/CITW_Biz-Jan-2014.pdf.


Zachary Lester

AFRO Staff Writer