In the days leading up to April 15, the Internal Revenue Service has a habit of sending out press releases about various citizens being prosecuted for cheating the government or simply not filing their returns.
This year, they have a celebrity hook: Wesley Snipes. Federal prosecutors filed a sentencing memorandum on Monday calling on a judge to sentence Snipes to three years in prison and a $5 million fine.
On Feb. 1, A Florida jury convicted Snipes of three counts of willfully failing to file tax returns, but acquitted him of felony conspiracy and tax fraud charges.
“The fact that Snipes was acquitted on two felony charges and convicted ‘only’ on three misdemeanor counts has been portrayed in the mainstream media as a ‘victory’ for Snipes,” a prosecution memo noted. “Snipes has become the public face of a movement whose members seize upon the slimmest of threads to justify their obstructive tactics. … There is, unfortunately, a profound need to discourage others from emulating Snipes’ criminal tactics against the IRS.”
It’s a perfect warning for an April 15.