Actor Wesley Snipes was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for failing to file tax returns. Despite surprising the court with a $5 million down payment on his outstanding tax balance, Snipes received the maximum jail time requested by federal prosecutors.
Federal prosecutors Tuesday urged a Florida judge to sentence actor Wesley Snipes to three years in prison and fine him $5 million to demonstrate to taxpayers that refusal to pay income taxes carries severe penalties.
U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill got the jury in the Wesley Snipes trial laughing on Tuesday – no small feat in a tax-evasion trial – bringing up Steve Martin and his King Tut routine. From that he launched into the comedian's "How to Make a Million Dollars and Not Pay Taxes."
Wesley Snipes's failure to file income-tax returns during the six years he made nearly $38 million was due to bad advice, the actor's attorney said during opening statements in a federal trial in Ocala, Fla., Wednesday.