BLOGS

Snipes Sentenced to Slammer

by Tippi Blevins April 25, 2008 10:59 am

For most of us, tax season is like a nightmare we finally woke up from and don't have to worry about for another eleven months. For Wesley Snipes, however, the nightmare is just beginning: The actor has now been handed a three-year prison sentence for tax evasion. Prosecutors argued for the harshest possible punishment under the law as a way to set an "example." What, because high profile tax crime cases are really making people think twice about not paying up? If that were the case, Snipes would have remembered Willie Nelson losing his property and his profits for a while in the 1990s and not gotten himself into this mess in the first place. Nelson himself would have remembered what happened to the infamous Al Capone and cut a check for Uncle Sam long before his troubles ever started.

According to an article in The Guardian, Snipes says he "owed $228,000" while he owes closer to three million. Another article cites US Attorney Scotland Morris as saying Snipes currently owes more than 20 million dollars. Even if the Snipes figure were the correct one, it wouldn't have mattered much. I know someone who once got a stern letter from the IRS after underpaying her taxes by sixteen bucks and change. If they'll go after you for owing the cost of a burger and appetizers at Bennigan's, they'll go after you for $228,000. They'll sure as hell go knocking on your door for a few million.

Look, there probably isn't a person in this country who opens his or her paycheck and says, "The government took a load of my money! Yay!" At least not without a healthy measure of sarcasm. But nobody gets away with not paying for long. You may curse and fume so much your friends and pets don't want to be around you until April 16, you may threaten to join a monastery and live without money, but eventually write the check and go on your way. That should be true whether you're John Smith in Topeka or Wesley Snipes in L.A.

Given the range of characters he's played over the years, at least he'll have a lot of cool prison nicknames to choose from. I'd recommend Phoenix, given the setting. No word yet on what Snipes's sentence means for his possible role in Brooklyn's Finest, which is currently in pre-production.

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