« Comparing the Presidential Candidates' Tax Positions: Clinton v. Obama & McCain v. Romney | Main | Charitable Deductions for Rail-Trail Conversions: Reconciling the Partial Interest Rule and the National Trails System Act »
February 1, 2008
Wesley Snipes Acquitted of Tax Fraud, Convicted of Failing to File Return
In a huge victory for the tax protester movement, a Florida jury this afternoon acquitted Wesley Snipes of two felony charges of tax fraud and conspiracy, as well as three misdemeanor charges of failing to file tax returns and to pay taxes. He was found guilty on three other misdemeanor charges and faces up to three years in prison. The IRS stated that it would take civil action to force Snipes to pay taxes, penalties, and interest on the $58 million of unreported income. Snipes' two tax advisor co-defendants, Eddie Ray Kahn and Douglas Rosile, were convicted of felony tax evasion and conspiracy charges.
- Wesley Snipes' Anti-Tax Manifesto
- DOJ Press Release
- Associated Press: Snipes Acquitted of Tax Fraud, Conspiracy
- Don't Mess With Taxes: Snipes Cleared of Most Serious Tax Charges, Convicted of Misdemeanors, by Kay Bell
- L.A. Times: Actor Snipes Acquitted of Tax Fraud, Guilty of Failing to File a Return, by Martin Zimmerman
- New York Times: Snipes Is Acquitted of Tax Felonies, by David Cay Johnston
- Roth & Co.: Wesley Walks, by Joe Kristan
- Tax Girl: Wesley Snipes Acquitted (!) of Tax Fraud
- Taxable Talk: Snipes: Guilty on Three Counts of Tax Evasion, by Russ Fox
- USA Today: Snipes Cleared of Tax Fraud, But Guilty of Not Filing Returns
- Wall Street Journal: Mixed Verdict for Wesley Snipes In Closely Watched Tax Case
- Wall Street Journal Law Blog: He’s Bad, He’s Bad, You Know It, He’s, Well, Not That Bad, by Peter Lattman
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Wesley Snipes Acquitted of Tax Fraud, Convicted of Failing to File Return:
Tracked on Feb 1, 2008 9:47:03 PM
Why is this a "huge victory for the tax protester movement"? The promoters of the crackpot strategies that Snipes fell for, Kahn and Rosile, were convicted on all counts, including the felonies of conspiracy to defraud and of fraudulently claiming a gigantic refund (for Snipes). Thus, the jury found beyond a reasonable doubt that the promoters knew all along that they claims were bogus, not held in good faith. At the same time, the jury apparently had a reasonable doubt about convicting the customer/dupe/victim of the scam promoters of being their co-conspirator. And a reasonable doubt whether, for the first several years, he knew (per Cheek), notwithstanding the promoters' seemingly "expert" assurances, that he had to file and pay. Snipes, although the subject of all the media and popular attention, and named first in the indictment (for publicity value), was the minor defendant in this case. "American Rights Litigators" (Kahn and Rosile) was the main target, and they were convicted down the line. They face a decade or more of imprisonment.
Posted by: Peter G | Feb 1, 2008 9:07:06 PM
Considering Snipes could have faced 16 years in prison, this has to be called a major legal victory. This is also a victory for those who object to our tax system. Snipes certainly isn't the only one who refuses to submit to our tax system, though he is perhaps the most prominent. Regardless of whether you agree with his views, you have to respect his courage. Snipes could go to prison for his beliefs, yet he is fighting the system anyway. His legal victory will embolden others to follow his example. This could be the beginning of a tax revolution. Kent Ninomiya
Posted by: Kent Ninomiya | Feb 2, 2008 12:47:12 AM
Since Snipes knew he was born in Orlando, Florida in 1962 and that he had a US passport, which he surrendered, and a Florida driver's license, how could Snipes believe in good faith that he was a "stateless person" and a "non-resident-alien", the stated basis for his belief that he was a "nontaxpayer" so that the Internal Revenue Code did not apply to him, as he explained in his 29 page manifesto, that he labelled a 'jury entertainment package'?
He made a number of constitutional assertions in that manifesto. The US Supreme Court in Cheek v US (1991) declared that the Cheek Defense argument of good faith belief can only derive from arguments due to the complexity of the Internal Revenue Code and not from constitutional arguments about the tax laws.
The bulk of the arguments in Snipes' manifesto are constitutional arguments about what is constitutional income, or US citizenship, or US jurisdiction, or the Bill of Rights.
Thus he was way outside the bounds of a Cheek Defense to Statutory Willfulness.
He was simply regurgitating criminal tax denier propaganda that he picked up from phony "ministries" of tax evasion on the internet: sedm.org and famguardian.org, 2 websites that the DOJ obtained injuctions to shut down in 2006 against the promoter, Chris Hansen, but have yet to be shutdown, because they are hosted on servers in Canada. (Take them out at the name servers, government!)
Posted by: firstname.lastname@example.org | Feb 2, 2008 2:14:51 PM
Check it out! Irwin Schiff has "seen the light"--nice.
Posted by: Adjunct Tax Prof. | Feb 2, 2008 8:30:39 PM
I agree with [email@example.com], Snipes defense was totally outside Cheek. But his lawyers were also outside the point, they simple acquiesced to a defense of Snipes trusting others in knowing the law for Snipes, just plain stupid of Snipes. It was not a victory for the "movement" either, actually its a waste of valuable court time and produced nothing of value for the movement.
But more on point, once again it proves that a lawyer is not your best friend, he/ she has no vested interest in you winning or losing, and truth is not a variable in the equation. The only interest a lawyer has besides the "fee", is how well the lawyer fairs in the courts favor.
Once again the truth about how our tax system is supposed to be administered is obscured by Judicial blindness, and lawyer misconduct. Of course I understand this this outcome. It must be very scary for litigators of tax law in these times. Think about it. How terrifying it must be to ponder the result of the truth surfacing after so many years of mis-representing clients at a professional level. To realize the scope of legal re-visitation that would ensue when clients become aware that they have been misrepresented. I would think there would be a wave of litigator suicides.
I just wish that all you out there in the "movement" would get your facts straight, you do more damage to the constitution's validity that your opponents do by protesting a valid tax. Its not the tax that is bad, its the application of the tax. READ THE CONSTITUTION, READ THE 16TH, UNDERSTAND WHAT AN AMENDMENT IS. Do not protest the tax, protest the IRS mis-applying the liabilities enumerated in statute.
Today is just another sad day for our Constitution, and the real loser in this again is the US Government (the people), for once again the IRS gets away with bilking the Treasury out of revenue just to proliferate its own existence.
Posted by: Clinton J. Harrold | Feb 2, 2008 10:33:02 PM
Mr. Snipes- I used to be a big fan, but no more. Do you think you received a far trial in the racist filled town of Ocala, FL.? How's the racist now, Mr. Snipes?
Posted by: Don Lack | Feb 3, 2008 7:34:45 AM
Congratulations Mr. Snipes and thank you. If the truth be told--let me help you. Blacks are imposed with taxation and reap none of the benefits provided by the government. Our tax dollars have elevated the immigrant population to that of wealthy, while black American citizens are homeless, sick and hopeless! in every major city. We cannot access any of the government giveaways...no social services, no police protectionand no education...all these services are GIVEN to foreigners. BLACKS NEED TO STAND UP IN SUPPORT, DEFENSE AND THANKS TO MR. SNIPES. I thank you and your team, Mr. Snipes, because none of the powers that be would be what they are without the honest, faithful service of Black servants who have no right or inheritance in the US. WE NEED JOBS SO THAT WE CAN PAY OUR BILLS...SO THAT WE CAN BECOME PLAYERS IN THE ECONOMY...SO WE CAN DRIVE NICE CARS AND LIVE IN DECENT HOUSING. Our government has forsaken us (local, city, state, and federal). We have not benefitted from any of the surplus. By right...foreigners should be paying to come here. They shuld be enhancing our quality of life! AND ANOTHER THING--IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED...ALL THE LAWS ARE MADE AND IMPOSED UPON BLACKS! EVERYONE ELSE DOES WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. The government takes our money...and screws it off on war and immigrants...which is of no benefit to us! It is a SIN and a SHAME what and how the white government and politicians have sucked the life (through finance and taxation) out of Blacks. I appreciate all that you are doing for us, Mr. Snipes. I believe your peers are not supportive of you as they ought to be--God forgive them for their wrong--but you are in my prayers. I see you, not as a celebrity, but as a champion for us (even though they are too blind to see it). YOU ARE, INDEED A GREAT MAN...thank you! is the least I can do.
Posted by: Barbara King | Feb 3, 2008 10:17:45 AM
Ms. King, are you for real? Your Government has not forsaken you.
You and the rest of the Americans out there that refuse to defend the Constitution that you own and present to your employees (Gov) to adhere to, have forsaken yourselves.
You have made a slave of yourself, by your apathy to Government and financial rule. Blacks have more than 50% of the Gov jobs, and are some of the most arrogant people to try to interface with, even to their own race.
This is not an issue of race this is an issue of monetary slavery. Mr Snipes cannot be blamed for the Americans peoples stupidity, that is a choice that only Americans can be held responsible for, irregardless of race.
Posted by: Clinton J. Harrold | Feb 3, 2008 1:39:16 PM
Aw, man! It wasn't Schiff after all. Nice moniker choice, tho', "firstname.lastname@example.org" ;)
[thumbs down to the Paul, his interns, or the blog's censor who didn't have a sense of humor about lucile86's choice of moniker. As if Schiff would post here--or post that. C'mon!]
Posted by: Adjunct Tax Prof. | Feb 3, 2008 5:48:05 PM
Jeez I can beleave I missed the 50% typo: correction 15%
Posted by: Clinton J. Harrold | Feb 3, 2008 6:47:12 PM