Wesley Snipes gets maximum penalty, three years in prison, for tax evasion

Wesley Snipes has been sentenced to three years in prison, for three misdemeanors in not filing his taxes. While his lawyer claims he was singled out because of his celebrity, reading this report on his behavior makes me think his aggressive attitude towards government employees is probably what earned him the maximum penalty.

The decision by US District Court judge William Terrell Hodges came two months after a jury convicted Snipes on three counts of willfully failing to file federal tax returns from 1999 to 2001.

The court heard yesterday that Snipes dodged $15 million (£7.5 million) in tax through a campaign in which he concealed millions offshore, falsely applied for tax refunds and bombarded the Internal Revenue Service with frivolous correspondence that threatened government employees, railed about extortion and used twisted legal interpretations to back his claim that taxation was unlawful.

“For nearly a decade, Snipes has engaged in a campaign of criminal tax conduct combining brazen defiance with insidious concealment,” the prosecuting attorney, Robert O’Neill, told the court in a sentencing memorandum. “In the defendant Wesley Snipes, the court is presented with a wealthy, famous and inveterate tax scofflaw. If ever a tax offender was deserving of being held accountable to the maximum extent for his criminal wrongdoing, Snipes is that defendant.”

Times Online

Wesley won’t go to prison immediately, but will surrender closer to his New Jersey home at a later date. This will allow him to be closer to his five children, aged between 1 and 19 years old.

The Times also says that Wesley attempted to give the judge three envelopes, containing cheques totalling $5million, but the judge could not accept them. The IRS did collect the cheques during a recess. I’m not sure if they were trying to prove that Wesley was going to pay debts, or they just weren’t sure who to give the money to.

Wesley’s tax advisors are also in jail, as it seems that he was given bad advice.

Wesley became a tax denier in 1999, where you are part of a movement that believes tax laws are unjust and that you shouldn’t have to pay them. If you can prove that you are a sincere follower of the movement you can avoid criminal consequences, but Wesley’s offshore bank accounts made the court consider him a fraud, not just someone who doesn’t believe in taxes.

Picture note by Celebitchy: Wesley Snipes is shown outside of court on February 1 when he received good news – he was acquitted of tax fraud but was convicted of failure to file taxes. He’s probably not that happy at this point. Thanks to Splash News for these photos.

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6 Responses to “Wesley Snipes gets maximum penalty, three years in prison, for tax evasion”

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  1. Scott F. says:

    I’ve always agreed with TRUE tax evaders, because if you research the history of the income tax, it was never meant to be permanent. People just got used to it, and the government wasn’t about to give up a huge revenue stream.

    For almost 200 years the only taxes the Federal gov. was actually supposed to take was on interstate commerce and international trade. Some commodities like alcohol and tobacco carried taxes, but that was pretty much the extent of it.

    That being said, like most people I’m afraid enough of the IRS to pay my taxes on time and in full – which is what he should have done. It does piss me off that I was reading an article about this earlier and the judge flat out said he was trying to make an example out of Snipes. When I hear things like that it really bothers me, because under the law we’re ALL supposed to be equal. We bitch when celebrities get lighter sentences for being famous, so it’s a double standard not to be just as outraged when they’re treated worse for the same reasons.

  2. Bodhi says:

    I’ve heard of people who voluntarily make & live on too little money to even be taxed. I don’t know if I could handle that, but it seems like a much better & more effective way of protesting tax laws than just not paying them

  3. xiaoecho says:

    The laws are made for everybody, not just people who think they’re fair or unfair. Perhaps, just perhaps, Snipes was given a just sentence, regardless of his celebrity, considering he knowingly subverted the law

  4. Syko says:

    We don’t have to agree with the laws, we just have to follow them. I’m not sorry for him.

    If you don’t like the laws, you need to work on getting the law changed. You can’t do high-profile disobedience and not expect punishment.

  5. kate says:

    wesley should spend 3 years in jail for being such a godawful actor.

  6. The Observer says:

    Well this only pisses me off because if this was Paris Hilton they would’ve given her 20 years in a federal prison but because she was crying, the judge would’ve reduced it to only 20 minutes in a room with no wallpaper.

    -Shakira Mebarak owes me money.