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3-yr jail term for Snipes

Ocala (Florida), April 25: Wesley Snipes, the Hollywood action star, has been sentenced to the maximum three-year sentence for not filing tax returns.

Prosecutors had requested the sentence, one year for each of Snipes’s convictions, saying the star of Blade 3 and Demolition Man had “engaged a campaign of criminal tax conduct, combining brazen defiance with insidious concealment”. They told the US district court in Florida that Snipes failed to pay at least $2.7 million in taxes.

Snipes, 45, offered more than 25 letters from family members, friends and even fellow actors Woody Harrelson and Oscar winner Denzel Washington, attesting to his good character. They argued that he should get only probation, because all three convictions were misdemeanours and the actor had no previous criminal record. But Judge William Terrell Hodges said Snipes exhibited a “history of contempt over a period of time” for US tax laws. “In my mind these are serious crimes, albeit misdemeanors,” Judge Hodges said.

Snipes apologised while reading from a written statement for his “costly mistakes”, but never mentioned the word taxes.

“I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance,” Snipes said. His wealth and celebrity attracted “wolves and jackals like flies are attracted to meat”.

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