Wesley Snipes Indicted for Tax Fraud
The actor tried to cheat the IRS out of $12 million in false refunds, prosecutors charge
Wesley Snipes was indicted Tuesday in Tampa, Fla., on conspiracy to defraud the IRS and failing to file income tax returns.
The Blade actor and two other men, Eddie Ray Kahn and Douglas P. Rosile, are charged with six counts of failure to file taxes.
Snipes, 44, is also charged with two counts of filing fraudulent tax returns. Prosecutors told the Associated Press that Snipes fraudulently claimed refunds totaling nearly $12 million in 1996 and 1997 on income taxes already paid.
He faces a maximum of five years in jail for each conspiracy charge and up to a year on each failure to file charge.
A warrant has been issued for his arrest, said Steve Cole, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Tampa.
According to the indictment, Kahn was the founder of American Rights Litigators and its successor, Guiding Light of God Ministries, both of which conducted business from an office in Florida. It is alleged that ARL and GLGM were for-profit, commercial businesses that promoted and sold fraudulent tax schemes.
The indictment says Rosile was a CPA whose Florida license had been revoked but who continued to practice, preparing, for a fee, fraudulent tax returns for ARL members and collecting a portion of any tax refunds the returns generated.
Snipes, Kahn and Rosile are accused of trying to make it appear as if Snipes had no liability for federal income taxes, when in fact he did.
Snipes’s lawyer has not been reached for comment.
This is not the first time Snipes’s involvement with Rosile has been questioned. In 2002, a lawsuit was brought against Rosile claming he filed false refund claims, including a $7.3 million demand for Snipes, though Snipes was not named as a defendant in the suit, the Associated Press reports.
And last year, the actor experienced further legal troubles when he tried to enter South Africa with a forged South African passport. He was allowed to return to the United States but was deemed an “undesirable person” by the African country, meaning he will have to apply for a visa should he wish to visit South Africa again.
Snipes is best known for his role in the trio of action-adventure Blade films and also starred in movies such as Jungle Fever and White Men Can’t Jump.