Wesley Snipes fought the law and the law kicked him all over the place, then when they were done with him, slapped the “Blade” star with a 3-year prison stint for failing to file taxes from 1999 to 2001. This, after Snipes’ lawyers spent the entire day in court offering up character testimonies from famous names like Woody Harrelson (Snipes’ co-star on a couple of movies) and Denzel Washington, and even tried to pay the Government off with a $5 million check. None of it worked, alas, and the judge sentenced Snipes to 3 years of hard time instead of the home detention Snipes was asking for.
The AP has the low down on the case:
U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges said Snipes exhibited a “history of contempt over a period of time” for U.S. tax laws, and granted prosecutors the three-year sentence they requested — one year for each of Snipes’ convictions of willfully failing to file a tax return from 1999-2001.
“In my mind these are serious crimes, albeit misdemeanors,” Hodges said.
The government alleged Snipes made at least $13.8 million for the years in question and owed $2.7 million in back taxes.
But you know what really pissed off Uncle Sam? It had to be this part:
Snipes maintained in a years-long battle with the IRS he did not have to pay taxes, using fringe arguments common to “tax protesters” who say the government has no legal right to collect. After joining Kahn’s group, the government said Snipes instructed his employees to stop paying their own taxes and sought $11 million in 1996 and 1997 taxes he legally paid.
You know what they say: Death and taxes. Death and taxes…
Snipes is expected to surrender to authorities to begin his sentence. Unless, of course, he decides to pull a “Passenger 57″…