Thursday, April 24 2008 a federal judge sentenced actor Wesley Snipes to three years in prison and an additional year of probation for all three counts of willfully failing to file tax returns..
It was reported that Snipes had owed Internal Revenue Services $ 17 million in back taxes. “He was in for it, there was no way that Snipes was going to escape that. There is no way to cheat taxes, if the money is being made, it will be taxed, period. If you ask me he was giving a good deal.” Jazmine Garcia, 31, Prince Williams’s County accountant. “I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance,” Snipes said when he read out loud a prepared apology in court. Snipes continued by calling his action “costly mistakes”. Many have questioned if jail was necessary for the action star. Michelle Cummings, Arlington V.A. says, “I doubt jail will teach him a lesson. I don’t believe that prison is necessary. The justice system is very predictable, putting another one away, a Black man.” Even Snipes lawyers said he was no threat to society, and offered three dozen letters from family members, friends and even fellow actors Woody Harrelson and Denzel Washington attesting to his compassion, intelligence and value as a mentor and contributions to society. Douglas P. Rosile, a de-licensed accountant who prepared Snipes paperwork and Eddie Ray Kahn the founder of American Rights Litigators, and a successor group, Guiding Light of God Ministries were Snipes Co-defendants. The two were convicted on both felony counts on which the actor was acquitted. Kahn, who refused to defend himself in court, was sentenced to the maximum 10 years, while Rosile received 4 1/2 years. A member of Mr. Snipes’s legal team said they would appeal. “We were hoping for a complete acquittal,” the lawyer, Linda Moreno, said. “I have faith in the process, and I have faith in the jury system. We will appeal.” The Prosecutors were pleased with the judge’s decision yesterday, “The sentencing court sends the right message to the American taxpayer you’ve got to pay your taxes,” U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill told reporters outside the usually quiet central Florida courthouse. “Rich, poor, it doesn’t matter. We all pay our taxes.”