One of Oklahoma's Top Tax Delinquents Says He's Not a Cheat
Jay Jones pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and in 2003 was sentenced to five years in prison.
Jones now has a part-time job at a Tulsa law firm and says he can't afford to pay the delinquent taxes.
Jones says this 2002 Chevrolet Tracker is his only asset.
According to the federal and state government Jones owes more than $1 billion.
By Jennifer Loren, The Oklahoma Impact Team
TULSA, Oklahoma -- In his first television interview since being released from federal prison, Jay Jones said he's not a tax cheat.
The last time Jay Jones was in front of the camera, he was pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge in one of the biggest white-collar crimes in state history. The scandal bankrupted Tulsa-based Commercial Financial Services and left at least 1,500 people jobless.
Now Jones finds himself as the number five tax delinquent on Oklahoma's top 100 list, owing $2.5 million in back taxes.
"If I could I'd pay it, but I can't," Jones said.
Three years after his release from prison, Jones said he has no way to pay. He works part-time as a clerk at Tulsa's Brewster and DeAngelis law firm, making $11,000 a year.
"Big money. Big money," Jones said while laughing.
We implied that his current lifestyle is a lot different from the lifestyle used to live.
"Boy, that would be an understatement. Yes ma'am," he replied.
Jones said he lives with his daughter and her family at their home in south Tulsa. The only asset he claims to have is a 2002 Chevrolet Tracker. Everything he used to own, he said, was taken by the government when he was sentenced. He said the government took about $200 million from him at that time.
He said he feels that money should have been applied to his tax liens.
We asked him if he feels like he owes the $2.5 million to the state of Oklahoma.
"No. I do not," Jones said.
Jones owes $2.5 million to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, $813,000 to the Internal Revenue Service and $1 billion in restitution as part of his sentence.
A spokesperson for the Oklahoma Tax Commission said in cases like this, there's not much they can do.
"If they don't have the money to pay there's a point in society where that's just what's going to happen. I mean I think it's difficult," said Paula Ross with the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
Jones said he has been contacted by the tax commission's creditors, but feels they're wasting their time.
"I mean I'm happy to talk to them at any time. I have no secrets... or no assets," Jones said.
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