sentenced to 3 years in prison
Wesley Snipes was sentenced to three years behind bars on
Thursday on three counts of willfully failing to file tax
returns. The Snipes' sentence was the highest-profile criminal
tax sentence in decades and letters from fellow actors Woody
Harrelson and Denzel Washington attesting to his compassion,
intelligence and value as a mentor helped none. Little help was
the fact that Wesley Snipes cut the federal government three
checks for $5 million, delivered in court, checks the
prosecutors initially rejected, but later accepted. Earlier last
year the actor was acquitted of five other charges, including
felony tax fraud and conspiracy, that would've exposed him to 13
more years in prison.
Wesley Snipes read aloud from a prepared
apology, calling his actions "costly mistakes" but never
mentioning the word "taxes." He said he was the victim of
crooked advisers, a liability of wealth and celebrity that
attract "wolves and jackals like flies are attracted to meat."
"I am very sorry for my mistakes and errors. As I was sitting
here today, a street saying came to mind - more money, more
problems," Snipes said during the sentencing.
"One of the main purposes which
drives selective prosecution in tax cases is deterrence. In some
instances, that means those of celebrity stand greater risk of
prosecution. But there's nothing unusual about it, nor is there
anything unlawful about it. It's the way the system works,"
U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges said during the