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OFF-TOPIC Wesley Snipes on Trial

WheelsRCool

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So I read that Wesley Snipes is either on, or about to go on, trial for apparently evading taxes. If convicted, he will likely got to jail for around sixteen years. He says he didn't cheat the IRS, they say he did...this is amazing IMO, I mean he was such a big star!
 

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Russ H

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IMO, I mean he was such a big star!
So was Al Capone.

They got him for tax evasion, too. ;)

-Russ H.

PS Wesley Snipes has been out of the country for months evading this (it came up a while ago).
 
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WheelsRCool

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Yeah, Al Capone though was a criminal mastermind, Wesley Snipes is an actor, it's expected he'd pay taxes and obey the law. Interesting though how you can be a criminal mastermind and if you are slick enough, they can't get you, but if you don't pay taxes, look out!

In an article I was reading, he was saying he received bad advice from his financial advisor and accountant.

I'm wondering, but since this could happen, but the person themself is still ultimately responsible, do you have to have multiple financial advisors and accountants so that if one is corrupt you can spot it?

Because if your financial advisor and/or accountant give you bad advice, well it's ultimately on you, but how are you to have known they did so?
 

Diane Kennedy

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Yeah, Al Capone though was a criminal mastermind, Wesley Snipes is an actor, it's expected he'd pay taxes and obey the law. Interesting though how you can be a criminal mastermind and if you are slick enough, they can't get you, but if you don't pay taxes, look out!

In an article I was reading, he was saying he received bad advice from his financial advisor and accountant.

I'm wondering, but since this could happen, but the person themself is still ultimately responsible, do you have to have multiple financial advisors and accountants so that if one is corrupt you can spot it?

Because if your financial advisor and/or accountant give you bad advice, well it's ultimately on you, but how are you to have known they did so?
If your CPA/lawyer gives you bad advice and you have that in writing (via opinion letters or signature on a tax return), you can go against their license. The IRS will also pursue against them MUCH more than against the taxpayer. I don't know the back story on whether that happened or not, but I suspect that we'd hear a lot about it if his attorney and CPA were also on trial. The fact that they aren't (I'm guessing they aren't) tells a lot about what the truth is.

HOWEVER a financial planner can give you bad advice and there is often no recourse. Ditto with the seminar promoters who tell you that you can do something when it's based on old, old law. That's something I see a lot - someone goes to a seminar and then asks me about it...the law that's been quoted is something that changed years ago. The problem is the promoter doesn't have any responsibility for giving good advice.

The best advice you can get is from the person who writes you an opinion letter or who signs the return. That's the guy that the IRS is watching as well.
 

Russ H

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from wikipedia (accuracy not guaranteed):

Fake Passport

In 2005, Snipes was detained in South Africa at Johannesburg International Airport for allegedly trying to pass through the airport with a fake South African passport. Snipes later told South African officials that he had applied for the South African papers not only for himself but for his family. During the interview, it was established that Snipes did indeed have fraudulent South African documentation in his possession. Snipes and his attorney agreed to cooperate with the South African Inspectorate of the National Immigration Branch in their investigation. Snipes was allowed to return home because he had a valid U.S. passport, but the South African authorities reduced his immigration status to undesirable as a result of the incident. To date, no explanation has been offered as to why Snipes entered South Africa on forged papers. [3]

Tax fraud charges

On October 12, 2006, Wesley Snipes, Eddie Ray Kahn, and Douglas P. Rosile were charged in a superseding indictment[4] with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States under 18 U.S.C. § 371,[5] one count of making or aiding and abetting the making of a false and fraudulent claim for payment against the United States, under 18 U.S.C. § 287 and 18 U.S.C. § 2, and six counts of willfully failing to timely file Federal income tax returns under 26 U.S.C. § 7203.[6]

Eddie Ray Kahn ran the for-profit businesses American Rights Litigators, Guiding Light of God Ministries and Eddie Kahn and Associates which, according to the U.S. Justice Department, were illegal tax evasion operations.[7] Eddie Ray Kahn was detained in Panama and flown back to Florida.[8]

Douglas P. Rosile, the third defendant, is an accountant who allegedly prepared certain amended returns filed by Snipes. In 2002, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa granted an injunction against Rosile, prohibiting him from preparing or assisting in the preparation of Federal income tax returns for other people.[9] Rosile allegedly prepared or helped prepare frivolous tax returns for 174 clients in 34 states, involving at least US$29 million in taxes. Rosile "was released by a federal judge in Ocala after he surrendered to authorities Oct. 17 [of 2006]".[8]

The conspiracy charge against Snipes includes allegations that he filed a false amended return including a false tax refund claim of over $4 million for the year 1996 and a false amended return including a false tax refund claim of over $7.3 million for the year 1997. The government alleges in the indictment that Snipes attempted to obtain fraudulent tax refunds using a discredited tax protester theory called the "861 argument" (essentially, an argument that the domestic income of U.S. citizens and residents is not taxable). The indictment said Snipes used accountants who already had a history of filing false returns to obtain refund payments for their clients.[10] Under the alleged deal, the firm American Rights Litigators was to receive, from the clients, an amount equal to 20 percent of the tax refunds obtained for those clients.[11]

The government also charges that Snipes failed to file tax returns for the years 1999 through 2004.[12]

On October 17, 2006, an arrest warrant was issued for Wesley Snipes on the tax charges. He was taken into custody on December 8, 2006, after arriving at Orlando International Airport and surrendering to authorities. Later that day he pleaded not guilty and was released on a US$1 million bond.[13]

Due to the volume of evidence being reviewed (including over 800,000 pages of documents by the government) and schedule conflicts for the attorneys, the trial (originally set for March 5, 2007) in the United States District Court in Ocala, Florida was continued (i.e., postponed).[14] The trial is now set to begin in January of 2008.[15]

Snipes said he was a scapegoat and unfairly targeted by prosecutors in connection with the federal tax fraud investigation.[11] If convicted, Snipes could face up to sixteen years in prison[16] and substantial fines.

References:

3. News article http://tinyurl.com/yozgyy
4. According to the Court docket, the original indictment apparently had been handed down on April 5, 2006, but had been sealed.
5. Where the victim is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the purpose is to defeat the lawful functioning of the IRS, a section 371 conspiracy is called a "Klein conspiracy," after the case of United States v. Klein, 247 F.2d 908 (2d Cir. 1957), 57-2 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) paragr. 9912, cert. denied, 355 U.S. 924 (1958).
6. Findlaw
7. WWW.USDOJ.GOV US Department of Justice News Release JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FILES SUIT TO STOP ALLEGED NATIONWIDE TAX SCAM - Florida Man Sells Counterfeit Checks And Other Scams With Help From Florida Lawyer And Texas Accountant published December 8, 2003
8. a b "Eddie Ray Kahn Busted in Panama", panama-guide.com, 1 November 2006.
9. United States v. Rosile, 2002-2 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) paragr. 50,566 (M.D. Fla. 2002).
10. Findlaw
11. a b "Wesley Snipes Arrested in Tax Fraud Case", Forbes, 8 December 2006.
12. apnews.myway
13. People
14. Order, Feb. 1, 2007, at docket entry 85, United States of America v. Wesley Trent Snipes, Case no. 5:06-cr-22-Oc-10GRJ, United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Ocala Division.
15. Order, Oct. 10, 2007, at docket entry 229, United States of America v. Wesley Trent Snipes, Case no. 5:06-cr-22-Oc-10GRJ, United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Ocala Division.
16. The sixteen years could consist of one year on each of the six counts under 26 U.S.C. section 7203, five years under 18 U.S.C. section 371, and five years under 18 U.S.C. section 287.
 

andviv

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so based on this, the IRS is also going after the CPA and that other guy... how does this change the picture?
 

Russ H

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I don't think it does change the picture. They need to make an example of anyone who flaunts this behavior.

Y'know what I find really funny?

There are a group of posters on richdad who have spent MONTHS debating/asserting that you don't have to pay taxes.

My argument to them was always, "Hey, this is a great thing. As soon as you don't get thrown in prison for not paying taxes, let me know."

They were all in a dither about their rights, and how through this "loophole", they didn't have to pay any income tax.

To me, this has always seemed such a weak, lazy attitude. A "get rich quick" scheme, if you will. If you live in the US, and enjoy the privileges of liberty and freedom (and a quasi-free market economy), then you should expect to pay for these privileges (through taxes). To assert that you aren't legally required to pay taxes is a dead-end street: where would we be, as a country, if everyone stopped paying their taxes?

-Russ H.
 

kimberland

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I don't know how it works in the U.S.
but in Canada,
if you admit that you made a mistake
and you agree to pay up your taxes,
you don't go to jail
(speaking from experience,
having had some bad tax advice....
from both an advisor and the dang tax agency... LOL).

Heck, my tax issue is still being discussed
(a few years later)
but at least I'm not looking at time in the slammer
(the tax folks aren't in the jail business,
they simply want to get paid).

I suspect that Snipes' issue isn't that he's in the wrong,
it's that he can't pay.
 

Russ H

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Yeah, his pay-back is in the millions of dollars.

And you'll note he hasn't even FILED returns for 1999-2004. OMG! :eek:

I'm guessing he owes lots. And lots.

-Russ H.
 

andviv

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And the sad thing is that probably he and others were laughing at the rest of us poor schmucks who were paying taxes that were not required. A really bad adviser could easily land you in jail... go figure.
 
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WheelsRCool

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I don't think it does change the picture. They need to make an example of anyone who flaunts this behavior.

Y'know what I find really funny?

There are a group of posters on richdad who have spent MONTHS debating/asserting that you don't have to pay taxes.
Maybe they got it from in Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad, when he says that the rich don't pay taxes...? Not saying that is true or not true though, but the book says that.

To me, this has always seemed such a weak, lazy attitude. A "get rich quick" scheme, if you will. If you live in the US, and enjoy the privileges of liberty and freedom (and a quasi-free market economy), then you should expect to pay for these privileges (through taxes). To assert that you aren't legally required to pay taxes is a dead-end street: where would we be, as a country, if everyone stopped paying their taxes?

-Russ H.
Overall, I'd say the U.S. is a free-market economy, in comparison to other nations, the U.S. government plays a very small role in our economy. The fact that we have so much government intervention in our economy yet still have the freest economy in the world, aside from maybe Hong Kong, is a testament to the size of our economy IMO.

Regarding taxes, I agree but I think the issue isn't so much acknowledging that taxes are needed, it's HOW they're collected. The IRS, if you do get messed up for some reason and truly can't pay, will employ borderline terror tactics to get you to pay (and I know this from personal experience). They did this so much so that the Congress got called in to investigate them.

And they're STILL a bit whacked with how they do this!

Also, the majority of tax revenue comes from sales tax I believe, not income taxes. This is why everytime government has lowered income taxes, tax revenue for government has gone up.

The tax cuts under the current administration have resulted in the highest level of tax revenue for the government in history I believe.

The reason being because when people can keep more of their money, then they spend it (we Americans are a spend spend spend people!). And all that spending results in lots of sales tax revenue for the government.

IMO, I understand full well taxes are necessary, but I think tax collection would be a lot more efficient, cleaner, and not scary if they could implement (or had implemented) that Fair Tax which would make sales tax the sole collection method.

Doubt it will ever happen though.

And for those who say the Fair Tax would never work, well let's assume it wouldn't, or couldn't be implemented. I have no problem paying income taxes, but IMO the IRS does need to revise their collection methods somewhatfor people who do get dealt a true crap sandwich but can't pay for awhile.

People also need to pay more attention to how the government spends the tax revenue, I understand full well that they need taxes for roads, bridges, infrastructure maintenance, etc...but now many roads and bridges are up for sale to private buyers because the politicians claim they cannot afford to maintain them without raising taxes.

On that issue I am not sure what to think, on the one hand, the money simply doesn't go as far as it used to, on the other hand, I believe in North Carolina for example they raided like a few hundred million out of the State Highway Fund or something like that for who-knows-what, so maybe they do have enough $$$.

Okay rant over :)
 

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MJ DeMarco

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Whatever happened to that couple in NH that were claiming the same thing? The old "Show me the law that says I need to pay" ... I have an old friend that hasn't paid taxes in 10 years and is using the same old technique claiming "Sovereignty" I'm surprised they haven't called him in.
 

andviv

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kimberland, what I find interesting is that the advisers told many people that there is no legal requirement to pay, nor file, tax returns. These claims come from people that are entitled to make statements that are to be deemed correct by the 'general population'. The licensing requirements are there for this same reason, and that is why, I think, Diane is mentioning that "If your CPA/lawyer gives you bad advice and you have that in writing (via opinion letters or signature on a tax return), you can go against their license. The IRS will also pursue against them MUCH more than against the taxpayer."

The government is aware of the implications and that is why the go after those that, having licenses, provide bad, illegal advise. I don't think the people that did not pay are 'victims' either (this theory was really crazy to start with), but I am concerned of the type of advise that 'experts' can provide thanks to the license.

And yes, his fake passport situation now clearly puts him in the 'crook' side, instead of the 'victim; of the advisers.
 

kimberland

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Advisors are just that, advisors.
Ya gotta use common sense.
Ya gotta take responsibility.
If someone tells you that there's no legal requirement to pay taxes,
ya gotta be asking yourself
"so why does everyone else pay taxes then?"

I've had bad tax advice before.
I double checked this bad tax advice with the government
(the government employee confirmed that it was a valid argument).
Even then,
I knew I was being aggressive
and I set aside funds "just in case."
That just in case happened.
I said sorry, paid and that was the end of it
(actually the ruling is still being disputed).

I didn't blame the advisor.
I knew I was being aggressive in filing my taxes
and I was looking for an aggressive advisor
(found one, funny how that happens).
I suspect that Snipes knew he was being aggressive also.
I suspect also that he intentionally looked for an aggressive advisor.
 

Russ H

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Update:

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hqRdIQN43C8lgKXjzAris2-Xu0YAD909070G0

(Snipes was acquitted on 5 of 8 charges, but the sentencing hearing for the other 3 charges was this week).

He had claimed, on prior occasions, to have only a checking account w/less than $1000 in it, and a few hundred dollars in cash.

On the morning of his hearing this week, he wrote checks to the US government for $5,000,000, in a "show of good faith".

The government took all the money he offered.

Then, the judge sentenced Snipes to 3 years in prison.

Makes ya think.

*************

I pay my taxes b/c it's the right thing to do.

But I think something like this may make some other folks think twice before they decide to declare that paying income tax is unconstitutional (which was a long standing thread on the richdad boards).

-Russ H.
 

fanocks2003

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Taxes has always been an ironic subject to me. I can't say I am pro-taxes. But I am not pro jail either. Taxes is not a democratic tool at all.
 

Dejan M

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But I think something like this may make some other folks think twice before they decide to declare that paying income tax is unconstitutional ...
But if they put you in jail that alone does not make make it constitutional. I know we have similar problems in my country with paying fines. Although it´s very clear that our own courts are breaking the law, they ignore it and put you in jail if you don´t pay.
 

fanocks2003

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It has struck me as utterly odd that all of the modern nations of today hasn't started using the internet for voting pro or anti law solutions. For example, take the many different tax laws we have at the moment (no matter what country your in, there is loads of tax laws). Why not put up a very secure website, let people vote (using their own social security number) what they feel would be the best way to do things. Let the people vote what kind of laws that are to be passed or thrown in the garbage.

When it comes to processes, every nation of today, modern or not, are using a stoneage mentality.

In the old days it was just common sense to elect representatives (because it would be hard to assemble all the inhabitants in every country to come visit one town and vote in every decision that had to be made). Today it is a totally new matter, a website can have millions of visitors (because it has to do with electrons and not physical bodies). It is all about broadband and server capacity these days. Anyone, thoughts?
 
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Adam K

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Yeah, his pay-back is in the millions of dollars.

And you'll note he hasn't even FILED returns for 1999-2004. OMG! :eek:

I'm guessing he owes lots. And lots.

-Russ H.
He made 19.4 million dollars between those times. His tax "bill" is 2.6 million dollars
 

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fanocks2003

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I don't think the leaders of the world are that interested in such a system because it isn't of any worth to them (their paychecks comes from leading a herd of sheep. Not from leading a heard of cats). They would lose control. But I am pretty certain people will see this way of handling voting processes as something worthwhile sooner or later. Why shouldn't the main population of the world want to control their own destiny? It's their country as much as anyone elses.

But I do agree that many people are not at all interested in controlling anything. That is why it is so easy to create new unfavourable laws that strengthen some people, but clearly impoverishes others.
 
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rlucas

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Paying taxes is like paying your subscription fee to a country club...if you stop paying you can't expect to keep using the pool or weight room after and assume no one is going to catch on.

But for real...You have to wonder what the hell was going through snipes' head when he 'forgot' to pay his taxes. I guess he was just too consumed with the filming of Blade 2 that it must have slipped through his to do list. Whoopsee Daisy.
 

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