INTERNET: State collector launches Web site to pressure its worst offenders. By Aaron C. Davis THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SACRAMENTO – Answering machine messages, warning letters and liens have long been the discreet, if ignorable, weapons of the tax man. Tax board spokeswoman Denise Azimi said the agency has collected $300,000 in payments from those on the list in the last 30 days. “First, we have always tried to work with people cooperatively,” Azimi said, “but obviously the concept here is to try to create a deterrent.” California lawmakers approved the scofflaw Web site last year, as the state’s unpaid personal income and corporate tax bill topped $6.5 billion. That tab is now nearly $7 billion with more than 722,000 outstanding tax liens. Although the state has issued liens preventing the sale of offenders’ property, various problems have prevented the tax board from collecting the amounts due. Some offenders, for example, no longer draw paychecks that can be levied. State tax officials estimated that if the names of the worst 250 were made public, California would collect about 4 percent of their amount due. However, if payments from the group over the past month hold up, the state’s public- shaming effort could end up bringing in far more than officials expected. Similar measures in Washington, Connecticut and Colorado have also proved effective. Combined, California’s 250 owe more than $249 million. At the top of the list is Rapid American Corp. with $26.8 million in unpaid taxes; at the bottom are dozens of individuals each owing more than $200,000. Dionne Warwick ranks 17th on the list and owes nearly $2.7 million; comedian Sinbad Adkins ranks 23rd and owes $2.1million; and O.J. Simpson – listed as Orenthal Simpson – ranks 33rd and owes more than $1.4 million. Officials wouldn’t discuss details of their tax problems, except to confirm that they were the celebrities in question. E-mails and phone calls from The Associated Press to agents and lawyers for the three were not returned Tuesday. Under the law, the tax board will update the list of 250 quarterly.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Now, California officials are beginning to think a high-tech public flogging may prove more effective. The state’s Franchise Tax Board last week launched a Web site listing the names, addresses and past-due amounts of its worst 250 scofflaws. Among California’s most delinquent are Dionne Warwick, Sinbad and O.J. Simpson. Several people from South Bay cities – including Lawndale, Redondo Beach and Marina del Rey – are also listed. As of Tuesday, those three celebrities remained on the list – owing at least $1.4 million each. But for dozens of others, the threat of public humiliation has already had the desired effect. In the weeks before the site went live, 26 offenders who were warned about their upcoming Internet debuts set up payment plans to keep their names off the list. Another scofflaw has since contacted the state to offer to pay up if it will mean being dropped from the Web site.