A pile of CRTs gathered for recycling.

Kevin Shibilski will serve just under three years of prison time and pay almost $200,000 for failing to pay taxes. | Drazah/Shutterstock

Kevin Shibilski, who led Wisconsin-based 5R Processors, was sentenced to 33 months in prison for a tax crime. The action was part of a plea deal that resulted in prosecutors dropping CRT-related charges.

Shibilski pleaded guilty in May of 2022 to one felony count of failing to pay taxes to the IRS. On Tuesday, Feb. 21, Shibilski was sentenced by a federal judge to prison and three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $197,000 in restitution to the IRS. 

When 5R closed, it left millions of pounds of CRT materials in storage at sites in Wisconsin and Tennessee. The state of Wisconsin is still working to arrange the cleanup of several sites. 

Under Shibilski’s plea deal, federal prosecutors dropped one charge of storing and disposing of hazardous waste (CRT glass) without a permit and eight counts of wire fraud. 

Court documents indicate the advisory sentencing guidelines called for a minimum of 33 months in prison and a maximum of 41 months. U.S. District Court Judge James D. Peterson imposed a sentence at the bottom end of the advisory range. Shibilski has until April 4, 2023, to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to begin his sentence. 

“Judge Peterson explained that a sentence of imprisonment was necessary in this case to send a deterrence message to two groups,” according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “One, business owners who willfully fail to pay their employment taxes and need to know their actions will have consequences and they will go to federal prison. Two, the general public who need to know that prison is not just for the impoverished or drug dealers.”

James Moss, former president of 5R, served a prison sentence for hazardous waste and tax crimes. Moss, who was released in September 2022, was a witness for the prosecution in Shibilski’s case, according to court records. 

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is still looking at contracting out the CRT cleanup at several former 5R sites. Lawmakers last year unanimously passed a bill to provide up to $2.5 million to state officials for the cleanup. The project, which DNR plans to complete by June 30, 2023, will clean up both publicly and privately owned properties. 

The Tennessee property was already cleaned up at the property owner’s expense of over $1 million.  

Shibilski’s plea agreement requires he provide $100,000 each to the DNR and the Tennessee property owner, Paint Oak LLC, to help pay for cleanups.

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