For his willfully failing to file an income tax return, Wesley Snipes was sentenced to three years in federal prison. He was charged with having failed to pay over $15,000,000 in taxes.
A jury acquitted Wesley Snipes of fraud and conspiracy charges and certain other tax charges even though they convicted him for failure to file his 1999, 2000, and 2001 tax returns.
According to the IRS, tax protestors Eddie Ray Kahn and Douglas P. Rosile (who themselves face 10 and 4-1/2 years’ incarceration respectively) met Snipes in 1998 who followed their suggestion to (among other things) stop filing tax returns.
He also filed amended returns requesting payments from the government of millions of dollars in refunds from earlier years’ filings.
Allegedly, Snipes doctored tax returns, and sent fake checks to the Treasury to evade paying his tax liabilities.
For what was technically a misdemeanor, Snipes was convicted and sentenced to time in prison.
According to Justice Department prosecutors, this represented a “singular opportunity….to deter tax crime nationwide.” And “Snipes’s long prison sentence should send a loud and crystal clear message to all tax defiers that if they engage in similar tax defier conduct, they face joining him and his co-defendants . . . as inmates in prison.”