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Wesley Snipes Acquitted of Tax Fraud, Still Faces Prison Time For Tax Evasion

By Rich King on January 31, 2008

Wesley Snipes, pictures, picture, photos, photo, pics, pic, images, image, hot, sexy, latest, new ORLANDO, Fla. — Actor Wesley Snipes was found not guilty of federal tax-fraud and conspiracy charges, but still faces up to three years in federal prison after being convicted Friday on three misdemeanor counts of tax evasion.

The 45-year-old Snipes failed to file tax returns on $37.9 million in income from 1999 to 2004, even after the Internal Revenue Service told him in 2002 that he was under criminal investigation, federal prosecutors in Florida previously revealed.

The tax fraud occurred during a time in which the actor was inking deals worth more than $10 million for "Blade II" and other movies.

Snipes also repeatedly tried during that time to get fraudulent refunds totaling $11.3 million for taxes he paid in 1996 and 1997, prosecutors said.

On three occasions, Snipes sent the U.S. Treasury what prosecutors called a "fictitious bill of exchange" totaling $14 million along with IRS payment vouchers, and at other times sent notices and a letter challenging the IRS' authority to criminally investigate.

In response, the IRS warned Snipes that his refund claims were frivolous.

Deliberations began Wednesday on the trial, in which the jury of seven women and five men announced today's verdict.

Snipes' accountant and the founder of a tax-protest outfit called American Rights Litigators were also convicted.

The actor's trial took place in the U.S. District Court in Ocala, Florida, where prosecutors say Snipes lived at the time of the charges.