Snipes facing three years in prison

Prosecutors want to make an example of Blade star
Wednesday , 16 April 2008
Snipes facing three years in prison

Hollywood star WESLEY SNIPES will serve three years behind bars and fined US$5 million for tax evasion charges, if US prosecutors get their way.

The Blade actor was convicted of failing to file his taxes for five years in February, and now prosecutors want a Florida judge to make an example of the star - by handing him the maximum sentence possible as punishment for showing a "brazen defiance" of American tax legislation.

In legal papers filed in a Florida court this week, US Attorney Robert O'Neill says, "This case cries out for the statutory maximum term of imprisonment, as well as a substantial fine, because of the seriousness of defendant Snipes' crimes and because of the singular opportunity this case presents to deter tax crime nationwide."

While Snipes was found guilty of not filing his tax returns, he was acquitted of the more serious charges of tax fraud and filing a false claim, as well as three misdemeanour counts of willful failure to file a tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Snipes has yet to comment on the prosecutors' recommendation. He is due to be sentenced on April 24.