Winnebago County Going After Debt Beats

By: Jorge Rodas
By: Jorge Rodas

WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) – If you owe the county money, don’t be surprised to find your state income tax refund withheld. Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato says his office is going after people he says need to be held accountable.

Bruscato says debt beats owe the county more than $70 million dollars in unpaid fines and fees, but realistically, the county will only be able to collect $14 million and they’re going to make sure people pay up.

At a press conference at the county courthouse, Bruscato said his office sent 10,000 files to the state of people who owe the county money and if those people are getting a refund check this year, the county will intercept it and take from it what it is owed. The county says they’ve collected more than $4 million in the last two years since working with government collections firm Harris and Harris.

“We’re not going to just sit back on those laurels. We’re going to continue to push forward and collect every fine and every fee that we can through every effort that’s available to us within the parameters of the law,” said Bruscato.
Bruscato says this season’s tax returns are in play. Debtors will have a chance to appeal the process, but tax refunds aren’t the only things the county is going after. Lottery winnings will also be in play now, so if you win and you owe, the county will get their money.

State employees who owe the county may have their wages garnished. Bruscato says the money collected goes into the county’s general fund. The money is used for hiring public defenders, deputies, paying current salaries, or really any other needs or services the county provides.

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