On February 1st Wesley Snipes was found not guilty of federal tax fraud and conspiracy charges. However, he was convicted on three counts of failing to file tax returns. Seems like it’s no big deal – huh? Not according to the government. They may has missed a criminal tax fraud conviction, but they did want a piece of Wesley Snipes for the attitude he took in the whole scheme
In their sentencing documentation the government stated the following as they requested Snipes be sentenced to three years in prison and fined $5 million:
For nearly a decade, Snipes has engaged in a campaign of criminal tax conduct combining brazen defiance with insidious concealment. By these means, Snipes has escaped paying more than $15 million in income tax to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and has pursued an intended fraudulent harm to the United States Treasury of more than $41 million.
Well, today the government got at least a part of what they were asking for. Wesley Snipes has been sentenced to federal prison.
In the sentencing trial today recently added co-counsel Carmen Hernandez revealed that Snipes, 45, star of more than 50 films, including the Blade vampire trilogy, had offered in August 2007 to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count and to pay his tax debt as long as he was promised no prison time. Seems that the federal government felt that Snipes was a high profile target and they (IRS and Federal prosecutors) felt that they could win this case. In part they did. However, failing to gain a felony conviction for Snipes was a major disappointment. Likely, for that reason, the government sought the maximum sentence possible for Snipes.
Snipes has a star studded cast of characters there to support his plea for no prison. The Orlando Sentinel reports:
Denzel Washington called him a “mighty oak.”
Woody Harrelson declared that he was honored to call the Orlando-born actor “my brother.”
In addition to Brown, another TV judge, Greg Mathis, chimed in with his opinion that Snipes should not go to prison.
All the exhibits that were presented at the sentencing trial are shown here courtesy of the white collar crime blog.
Snipes’ co-defendants, who were convicted on the felony fraud and conspiracy charges, will also be sentenced. Eddie Ray Kahn faces up to 10 years behind bars, while Douglas P. Rosile could be jailed five to six years.
In the end, when the gavel fell, Judge Hodges ruled that Snipes must serve 36 months in federal prison for his conviction for failure to file!
For some six months now I’ve been reporting on the Wesley Snipes case and long ago predicted the outcome that Wesley Snipes would go to jail. Snipes was not your ordinary taxpayer who was misguided and misinformed. Snipes somehow became convinced that he and others were not required to file and pay. While the federal government missed a conviction on tax fraud charges…they got a big win today with a maximum prison sentence for Snipes.
Looks like Snipes missed the Get Out Of Jail Free card!
- DO YOU THINK SNIPES SENTENCE IS FAIR?
- DOES THIS SENTENCE SERVE AS A DETERRENT TO FUTURE TAX PROTESTERS
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!