These are comments from a Department of Justice news release:
A jury today found Wesley Trent Snipes guilty on three misdemeanor charges for failing to file income tax returns. Snipes was acquitted on felony charges of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and presenting a fraudulent claim for payment to the IRS. He was also acquitted on three other charges of failing to file income tax returns. Eddie Ray Kahn, of Sorrento, Florida, and Douglas P. Rosile, of Venice, Florida, were found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and presenting a fraudulent claim for payment to the IRS.
A sentencing date has not been set. The conspiracy and false claim charges each carry a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment. Snipes faces up to one year imprisonment on each charge of failing to file income tax returns.
Kahn was the founder and leader of American Rights Litigators (ARL), a tax protestor organization based in Lake County, Florida. Rosile prepared returns for ARL clients, such as Snipes.
U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill stated, “Filing tax returns is not optional. It is a legal requirement. Mr. Snipes now faces up the three years in federal prison for his willful failure to comply with the law.”
“The jury’s conviction of Wesley Snipes today represents the latest in a long string of criminal convictions by the Justice Department and the IRS against tax protestors,” said Nathan J. Hochman, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, “Those who unlawfully dodge their tax obligations should know that they face long prison terms and stiff financial penalties.”
“Our criminal justice system has once again determined that there are no legal grounds for failure to file or pay federal taxes. There is no secret formula that eliminates a persons’ tax obligations — the law is very clear: people must pay their taxes. Today’s conviction again reminds all honest taxpayers that arguments from those who promote tax schemes are simply wrong and do not stand up to the scrutiny of the law,” said acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Linda Stiff.
Clearly the IRS would have liked more, but the main culprits have been convicted and a clear message has been sent. According to Snipes attorney, Snipe will now comply. Likewise, the IRS has said it will seek civil penalties and pursue Snipes till all that is due is paid.
And yet one more time the government establishes the long standing requirement (regardless of certain tax protesters opinions) that there are two things in life that are true – death and taxes.
Business Ethics Speaker – Chuck Gallagher – signing off…