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Thread: Wesley Snipes acquitted of tax fraud

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    Elite Member Laurent's Avatar
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    Default Wesley Snipes acquitted of tax fraud

    Jury acquits Wesley Snipes of tax fraud
    By TRAVIS REED, Associated Press Writer

    OCALA, Fla. - Action star Wesley Snipes was found not guilty of federal tax-fraud and conspiracy charges Friday, but was convicted on three misdemeanor counts of failing to file a tax return.

    Snipes had faced up to 16 years in prison if convicted on all charges, but can now only get up to three years. The "Blade" star and two co-defendants had been indicted in 2006 after Snipes stopped paying, using tax protest arguments long rejected by the courts.

    Snipes sat emotionless as his verdict was read, then nodded in relief. He refused to talk with reporters after the verdict, and is still liable for millions in taxes likely to be pursued in civil court.

    "Mr. Snipes has always been committed to doing the right thing, and after this trial is over he'll make whatever amends are required," defense attorney Robert Bernhoft said. "But this is a man of integrity."

    Snipes' lawyers argued that he was a victim of crooked advisers, and the jury seemed to believe it. Co-defendants Eddie Ray Kahn, the founder of a tax protest group, and Douglas P. Rosile, an accountant who lost his licenses, were convicted Friday by the same panel of tax fraud and conspiracy. Both face up to 10 years in prison.

    The government said Snipes failed to file tax returns from 1999 to 2004, a period in which he signed two contracts for more than $10 million on sequels in the "Blade" trilogy.

    The actor, who also appeared in "White Men Can't Jump," is among the most famous targets of an IRS criminal investigation, and his prosecution was key for the government.

    "We thought there was sufficient evidence for a conviction on all counts, but obviously the jury disagreed," U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill said.

    Snipes used bizarre arguments to justify his position, saying the IRS' own code meant income earned in this country wasn't taxable, and the agency had no legal authority because it's not a proper government entity.

    Later, the actor threatened the government and individual agents in his pursuit, declaring himself a "nonresident alien" not subject to tax laws.

    Prosecutors say Snipes paid taxes in the 1990s, but changed his mind after meeting Kahn in 2000. He allegedly stopped filing returns, illegally sought $11 million in 1996 and 1997 taxes paid and drew fake checks to pay the U.S. Treasury.

    Kahn founded the central Florida tax protest group American Rights Litigators and its successor, Guiding Light of God Ministries. He has been using tax scams since at least the early 1980s, according to government documents, and refused to defend himself in court against these charges.

    Rosile, a CPA who lost his licenses in Florida and Ohio, allegedly prepared the fraudulent documents for Snipes, along with numerous other Kahn clients.

    Judge and jury have long rejected their ideas, but there were exceptions.

    The IRS bears a unique burden of proof in criminal tax cases. It must show not only that someone broke the law, but he or she did so with willful, bad purpose to defraud the government.

    A few defendants have won acquittal because the jury thought they sincerely believed they did not have to pay.
    Jury acquits Wesley Snipes of tax fraud - Yahoo! News
    “What are you looking at, sugar-tits?” - Mel Gibson

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    Elite Member smurfette's Avatar
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    What an ass. He thinks because he is a (C-list) celeb that he should be exempt from paying taxes.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Default Snipes 'should serve three years'

    Snipes 'should serve three years'


    Snipes starred in films such as Blade, Passenger 57 and Demolition Man

    Film star Wesley Snipes should spend three years in prison and be fined $5m (£2.5m) for tax evasion, US prosecutors have said.


    The actor was found guilty in February of failing to submit tax returns, although he was cleared of more serious charges, including fraud.


    Prosecutors have now recommended that he faced the maximum penalty for a "brazen defiance" of US tax laws.
    The Blade star will be sentenced on 24 April. He was not available to comment.


    In court papers filed on Monday, US Attorney Robert O'Neill pressed for the maximum penalty because, he said, the case provided a "singular opportunity" to "deter tax crime nationwide".


    "For nearly a decade, Snipes has engaged in a campaign of criminal tax conduct, combining brazen defiance with insidious concealment," a US Department of Justice statement said.

    'Fraudulent harm'


    "Snipes has escaped paying more than $15m (£7.6m) in income tax to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and has pursued an intended fraudulent harm to the United States Treasury of more than $41m (£20.8m)."


    At his trial in January, lawyers for the film star admitted he had been "dead wrong" and should have to pay the money back.


    But they denied any crime had been committed, saying Mr Snipes had been open with the government about what he was doing.


    "Disagreement with the IRS is not fraud of the IRS, is not deception," argued defence lawyer Robert Barnes.


    The actor's first role was in Goldie Hawn's 1986 American football comedy Wildcats, and he later appeared in the video for Michael Jackson's Bad, which was directed by Martin Scorsese.

    He also appeared in hit films such as White Men Can't Jump, Passenger 57 and the Blade trilogy.

    BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Snipes 'should serve three years'

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    The key word here is "jury." No jury in America (or elsewhere for that matter) is going to punish a celebrity for something 'harmless' as the tax shenanigans he did. Never mind that none of us average joe's and jane's would never get away with it. Juries are the greatest gifts to the celebuturd.

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    Yay! I love him...

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    Fuck taxes. I don't think I should have to pay them just to fund a war or support debeats either.

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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    ^^ Amen!

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    I saw him in an infomercial last night hawking that exercise machine Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley used to shill. Total Gym, that's it. He must be a broke ass and highly embarrassed to be doing that shit.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    ^ That commerical cracks me up. He acts so educated on the muscle groups....Listen to him next time you see it. haha
    I like him and I don't know why though.

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    ^^haha I like him too. And, if Cher can come back from the abyss of infomercials, so can he.

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    Snipes Gets Maximum Sentence: 36 Months

    OCALA, Fla. -- Wesley Snipes was sentenced to 36 months in prison, Thursday, the maximum sentence allowed.

    Snipes Gets Maximum Sentence: 36 Months - Orlando News Story - WESH Orlando

    Ouch!

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    GOOD. the IRS is no joke, they go after small fries all the time.. its nice to see them go after celebrities too

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    Wow, is there any chance of appeal?

    If I were him, I would milk it, and try to make some movie about it to recoup the money when he gets out.

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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    3 years baby....don't fuck around with the IRS. Thats all I am going to say.

    *runs and hides from Big Brother watching*

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    Elite Member DoveFeatheredRaven's Avatar
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    Yeah...OJ's out running around but let's get him behind bars pronto. Psht.
    Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” George Carlin

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