IRS Charges Wesley Snipes With Fraud

NEW YORK - MARCH 20: Actor Wesley Snipes attends Universal Pictures' premiere of "The Inside Man" at the Ziegfeld Theater March 20, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images) GETTY IMAGES/Evan Agostini

Wesley Snipes and two other men have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the IRS and a fraudulent claim for payment to the IRS, officials from the Internal Revenue Service announced Tuesday.

The actor could face a maximum of five years in prison for each of the charges.

An eight-count indictment, unsealed on Tuesday, also names Eddie Ray Kahn of Sorrento, Fla., and Douglas P. Rosile, of Venice, Fla.

The men allegedly filed two income tax returns for Snipes, claiming refunds totaling almost $12 million. The indictment also alleges that Snipes did not file his 1999 through 2004 federal income tax returns.

Snipes, who has starred in films such as "Blade" and "White Men Can't Jump," is also charged with six counts of failing to file income tax returns. He faces up to one year in prison on each count.

A grand jury indicted Snipes last Thursday and a warrant for his arrest was issued Friday, according to Steve Cole, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorneys Office in Tampa.

"We have not heard from Mr. Snipes," Cole told The ShowBuzz Tuesday afternoon. "The indictment was unsealed today with the arrest of Mr. Rosile who turned himself in to U.S. Marshals in Ocala, Florida."

Cole said Rosile appeared in federal court on Tuesday in Ocala and was released on his own recognizance.

According to the indictment, Kahn was the founder and leader of American Rights Litigators (ARL) and its successor, Guiding Light of God Ministries (GLGM).

ARL was formed in 1996 and conducted business from an office located in Mount Plymouth, Fla., until August 2003, when ARL moved to an office located in Mount Dora, Fla., and began operating under the name Guiding Light Of God Ministries.

It is alleged that ARL and GLGM were for-profit, commercial businesses that promoted and sold fraudulent tax schemes designed to impede the administration of IRS laws.

The indictment alleges that Rosile was a CPA but continued to work as an accountant after his licenses in Ohio and Florida were revoked and allegedly prepared fraudulent returns for members of American Rights Litigators using the so-called "861 argument."

Authorities alleges that that Snipes, Kahn and Rosile knew the "861 argument," which says that U.S. citizens and residents can be taxed only on income derived from certain foreign-based activities and not on wages and other income earned within the United States, was false.

"The Justice Department will vigorously investigate charges of counseling or committing tax fraud," said Assistant Attorney General Eileen J. O'Conner in a statement.

"Our system of government depends on citizens paying their fair share of taxes," stated U.S Attorney for the Middle District of Florida Paul Perez. "Those who intentionally and unlawfully harass the IRS through deceit, trickery and fraud undermine the collection of revenue that is vital to every aspect of the operation of our government, including defense, the war on terror, health care, law enforcement and education."

The case is being investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation.
  • Amy Bonawitz

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