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The Tax Prophet Newsletter   Issue # 60 April 2008


In This Issue:
Hot Potato
Sentencing Memo

Wesley Snipes Headed
to Club Fed


Movie action hero and convicted tax cheat Wesley Snipes learned the hard way that his fantasy world as portrayed on the big screen is no sanctuary for tax crimes.

Snipes appeared in such Hollywood hits as the Blade vampire trilogy, White Men Can't Jump and Money Train.

After an all-day sentencing hearing, which included testimonials from actors Woody Harrelson, TV's Judge Joe Brown and Denzel Washington, Federal Judge William Terrell Hodges threw the book at Snipes.


Although Snipes beat the rap on several felony tax counts, the jury convicted him of three misdemeanor charges of failing to file tax returns. Each count carried a one-year maximum sentence.

I predicted that a sentence of nine month or less would have amounted to a victory for Snipes, 15 months or longer, a triumph for the feds.

The judge ordered Snipes to the slammer for three years, the maximum sentence allowed and a major win for the prosecution.

Snipes' high-priced legal team -- arguing that the actor deserved probation since he was convicted of only misdemeanors, was a first-time offender and the government was merely "big-game hunting" because Snipes was a famous actor -- failed to impress or persuade the judge.

Hot Potato

In a bizarre game of courtroom hot potato, lead Snipes attorney, Daniel Meachum, presented three envelopes containing $5 million in tax checks to the judge, who promptly refused them. The checks were offered to the prosecutor who also said, "No thanks."

After sheepishly returning to the defense table with no takers, an IRS agent sitting in the audience finally accepted the tax payments.

The government referred to the spectacle as grandstanding by Snipes and his attorneys, noting the payment was a mere fraction of what was actually owed.

Sentencing Memo

The government's sentencing memo stated that Snipes failed to pay tax on at least $13 million earned over a three-year period, used a Swiss bank account to hide income, and claimed that he was not subject to the federal tax law because he considered himself a "stateless person," "nonresident alien," or "non-taxpayer."

The memo concluded, "Snipes' nearly decade-long campaign against the IRS has combined brazen tax-defier tactics with sophisticated concealment of income and assets."

Note: The term "tax defier" is the new government term for tax protesters, those who refuse to comply with federal tax laws for a variety of discredited and frivolous reasons.

Evidently, the judge agreed.

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All contents copyright 2008 Robert L. Sommers, attorney-at-law. All rights reserved. This newsletter provides information of a general nature for educational purposes only and is not intended to be legal or tax advice. This information has not been updated to reflect subsequent changes in the law, if any. Your particular facts and circumstances, and changes in the law, must be considered when applying U.S. tax law. You should always consult with a competent tax professional licensed in your state with respect to your particular situation. The Tax Prophet is a registered trademark of Robert L. Sommers.