October 18, 2007 / 12:27 AM / 11 years ago

O.J. Simpson among those on California tax shame list

Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson ducks into his car outside the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada September 19, 2007 after being released from jail on bail of $125,000. Simpson and singer Dionne Warwick are among California's worst tax debtors, according to the state tax collection agency's latest naming and shaming of the top offenders. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - O.J. Simpson and singer Dionne Warwick are among California’s worst tax debtors, according to the state tax collection agency’s latest naming and shaming of the top offenders.

Simpson, the former American football star who in the 1990s was acquitted of murder in a highly publicized trial, owes California $1.44 million, and Grammy Award-winning singer Warwick owes the state $2.67 million, according to the California Franchise Tax Board.

Joining Simpson and Warwick among the state’s top 250 tax debtors is comedian Sinbad, whose debt is no laughing matter. He owes $2.14 million.

Representatives for Simpson, Warwick and Sinbad did not respond to requests for comment.

The 250 top listed names owe California more than $249 million combined, Denise Azimi, a spokeswoman for the collection agency, said on Wednesday.

California, which routinely faces budget shortfalls, in recent years has stepped up efforts to collect overdue taxes. Lawmakers last year approved a Web site to include public shaming as a tool for tax collectors (here).

“Each year, California loses more than $6.5 billion in unpaid taxes,” said John Chiang, the state controller and chair of the Franchise Tax Board.

“Hopefully, this action will encourage these taxpayers to come forward, pay what they owe, and quickly help the Franchise Tax Board remove their names from the list.”

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