Actor Wesley Snipes was sentenced shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday to the maximum term of three years in federal prison on three misdemeanor convictions of failure to file his income taxes. Snipes was also sentenced to one year of supervised release. He was not taken into custody immediately. Instead, the Bureau of Prisons or the U.S. Marshal's Service when notify him when and where to report. His lawyer requested a facility not too far from his family's home in New Jersey, and the judge said he would recommend that.
After a day-long hearing, U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges talked of the importance of deterrence in tax cases and noted that, despite Snipes' apology in court, he had a years-long record of defying the tax laws. No fine was imposed. The judge left that to the civil process. ...
Early in the afternoon, lead Snipes attorney Daniel Meachum deposited three envelopes containing $5 million in checks with the judge. It apparently was meant to show that Snipes accepted responsibility and was ready to pay his taxes. Problem: The judge didn't know what to do with it, and the prosecutors weren't ready to accept that whopping sum of money. Hodges said he had "no authority on the part of the court to accept funds on behalf of the United States Treasury." Assistant U.S. Attorney Scot Morris conferred with other at the prosecution table. "You honor," he said, "I'm not authorized at this time to accept that money." "I'll take the checks back," said Meachum.
During a break, an IRS agent accepted the payment. "Your honor, that was a grandstanding move," Morris said late in the day. "It's essentially a down payment on his taxes. It is in no way a settlement of his taxes. It will be a fraction of what he owes."