Gather round, tax kooks, and listen to the tale of Wesley Snipes. He’s the guy who didn’t pay his taxes while raking in millions, and then tried to collect $7.4 million in tax refunds. Now he’s going to jail for three years thanks to a federal District Judge who doesn’t care much for tax protesters and their zany theories.
His celebrity could raise attention about tax defiance and deter protesters, said Assistant Atty. Gen. Nathan J. Hochman of the Justice Department’s tax division.
“The three-year sentence Mr. Snipes received today sends a loud and crystal-clear message to the tax defier community that if they engage in this illegal conduct, they can and will go to jail,” Hochman said.
Despite Snipes’ claims that he was taken advantage of, Hochman said the actor was a “disciple” of the tax defiance movement who understood that his actions were illegal.
“It’s more than just an accident. It occurred on numerous occasions over many different years,” Hochman said. “This wasn’t an innocent victim of ‘jackals.’ This is someone who willfully and knowingly participated.”
Before his sentencing, Snipes told the judge that his wealth and celebrity attracted “wolves and jackals like flies are attracted to meat,” and he called himself “well-intentioned but miseducated.”
The cunning greed-monger defended his morally bankrupt plot to defraud taxpayers, saying: “I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance.”
Snipes was convicted on three misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns for 1999-2001. His former “tax advisers,” Douglas Rosile and Eddie Ray Kahn were respectively sentenced to 54 months and 10 years in jail.
The decision is a tragic setback for Tax Dog, and a reminder to always pay your taxes.
Wesley Snipes sentenced to 3 years in prison [L.A. Times]
(AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)