Friday, February 1, 2008

Wesley Snipes acquitted of federal tax fraud

Associate Press
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 and two co-defendants, a delicensed accountant and a tax protest leader, were indicted in 2006. Snipes was also indicted on six counts of willful failure to file a tax return from 1999-2004, a period in which he signed two contracts for more than $10 million on sequels in the “Blade” trilogy. He was acquitted on three of those and convicted on the others. He could be sentenced to three years in prison after originally facing a possible 16 years.

Co-defendants Eddie Ray Kahn, the founder of a tax protest group, and Douglas P. Rosile, the accountant, were convicted by the same jury of tax fraud and conspiracy.

Snipes, who starred in Jungle Fever, the “Blade” films and “White Men Can’t Jump,” is among the most famous targets of an IRS criminal investigation, and his prosecution was key for the government. The actor used tax protest arguments long rejected by courts but still continuing to find adherents.

For example, Snipes said the IRS’ own code meant no citizen had to pay taxes on income earned in this country, and the agency had no legal authority to collect wages anyway, because it is not a proper government entity.

Snipes’ attorneys claimed he was victimized by crooked advisers, and tried for years to get the IRS to explain whether he owed taxes. Later, the actor threatened the government and individual agents in his pursuit, declaring himself a “nonresident alien” not subject to tax laws.

See complete AP story here >>>>>
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