MADISON – A former state lawmaker from central Wisconsin and one-time lieutenant governor candidate pleaded guilty Monday to not paying almost $200,000 in employment taxes.
Kevin Shibilski, 60, of Merrill, appeared in front of federal district court Judge William Conley and pleaded guilty to failing to truthfully account for and pay the Internal Revenue Service the federal income taxes withheld and the FICA taxes owed on behalf of his employees at two of his businesses — Pure Extractions and Wisconsin Logistics Solutions.
Shibilski was CEO of 5R Processors, a Ladysmith-based company that recycles electronic waste from corporations, institutions and manufacturers that participate in a manufacturer-take-back program. He formed the other two companies, Wisconsin Logistics Solutions and Pure Extractions, to take over 5R Processors’ trucking, logistics and recycling operations.
The unpaid taxes amounted to $197,458, according to the records.
A native of Stevens Point, Shibilski represented the 24th Senate District from 1995 to 2002, when he unsuccessfully ran in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. He later served as state tourism secretary under Gov. Jim Doyle.
In exchange for Shibilski’s guilty plea, the U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss all other charges on which a grand jury indicted Shibilski in September 2020, including eight counts of wire fraud and storing and disposing of hazardous waste without a permit, according to court documents. Shibilski originally was charged with conspiring to defraud the United States by not paying more than $850,000 in employment and income taxes.
In July 2020, Shibilski sued his former business partners in federal court, claiming they “duped him into investing in 5R Processors by falsifying books and records which hid hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid tax liability and ongoing environmental schemes involving hazardous waste storage,” according to online court documents. Conley dismissed the lawsuit in February 2021.
According to the indictment, Shibilski illegally stored and disposed of broken and crushed glass from cathode ray tubes that was hazardous because the tubes contained lead. He took more than $5.76 million from clients but failed to recycle more than 8.3 million pounds of their crushed glass. Instead, the company stockpiled the lead-containing tubes at 5R Processors’ warehouses in Wisconsin and Tennessee, according to court documents.
Conley ordered a presentence investigation in the criminal case and scheduled Shibilski’s sentencing for Sept. 13. Shibilski faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
Contact Karen Madden at 715-345-2245 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @KMadden715, Instagram at @kmadden715 or Facebook at facebook.com/karen.madden.33.