Zane may be used to topping best-seller lists for erotic books such as “Gettin’ Buck Wild: The Sex Chronicles II” and “The Heat Seekers,” but the author has found herself on a list outside the literary realm.
The Washington Post reports that Zane is at the top of this year’s list of Maryland’s top individual tax cheats.
During a news conference in Baltimore Md., Maryland state comptroller Peter Franchot said Zane (born Kristina Laferne Roberts) owes the state $340,833.58.
In a 2003 profile, the 47-year-old writer, who is the daughter of a retired District elementary school teacher, told Post that her work is based on fantasy rather than autobiography. Roberts told the Post at the time that she had sold life insurance and then started writing erotic stories primarily for and about African-American women in 1997 for the Internet.
In addition to being a popular writer, Roberts is a publisher with an imprint known as Strebor Books International.
The list of top individual tax cheats is part of the comptroller’s “Caught in the Web” program that aims to shame tax evaders into paying up, Franchot said, adding that people and businesses end up on the list only after the department has exhausted all other efforts to collect, including garnishing wages or placing liens against their property. The current list includes liabilities of nearly $3.7 million in back taxes, penalties, and interest from 25 people and more than $11 million from 25 businesses.
Overall, Franchot stated that the companies and individuals on this year’s list owe nearly $15 million in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest and have failed to pay or settle on a payment plan for at least six months.
“We’re pretty confident that most of these people had the resources or have the resources right now to pay but they just choose to lawyer up and avoid their responsibilities,” he said.
Since its inception in 2000, the “Caught in the Web” program has collected more than $27 million, according to comptroller’s office.