(a) Any person who knowingly and willfully gives false information for the purpose of claiming a homestead exemption, or for the purpose of assisting another person in claiming a homestead exemption, shall be ordered to pay twice the amount of any ad valorem tax which would have been due retroactive for a period of up to 10 years plus interest at a rate of 15 percent per annum from the date the tax would have been due.
(b) The penalties and interest assessed against any person who obtained an exemption based upon false information or any person who assisted another in claiming an exemption with false information shall be paid within thirty days of written demand by the local taxing official or the department. If payment is not made as provided herein, the State of Alabama shall bring a civil action to recover the penalties and interest due. The amount recovered shall be paid to the local taxing official in the county where the exemption was granted. The local taxing official shall then distribute the monies on a pro rata basis to each of the entities which would have received a portion of the assessed ad valorem tax had the exemption not been granted based upon false information.