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Last Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008, 22:58 GMT
US court clears Snipes of fraud
Wesley Snipes
Wesley Snipes is now awaiting sentencing in Florida
Actor Wesley Snipes has been found guilty of failing to file tax returns by a US jury but cleared of more serious charges including fraud.

The film star was accused of failing to pay tax on $58m (£29.1m) of income from 1999 to 2004.

Snipes and two co-defendants denied eight charges in one of the US tax service's biggest ever cases.

He was found guilty on three misdemeanours and could still face up to three years in prison.

Snipes, 45, and the two co-defendants had been charged with six counts of failing to file tax returns, two of fraudulently claiming tax refunds and one count of conspiracy to defraud the government.

They could have faced up to 16 years in prison.

Lawyers for Snipes had admitted he was "dead wrong" and should have to pay the money back. But they had insisted there was no fraud and no need for a trial.

Protest

The trial took place in the rural township of Ocala, 130km (80 miles) north-west of Orlando, Florida, because it was near the celebrity enclave of Isleworth, where prosecutors said Snipes lived at the time of the suspected fraud.

The jury heard how Snipes stopped paying federal income tax in 2000, and then allegedly sought $12m (£6m) in illegal refunds.

They heard he had come to agree with the two other defendants, Eddie Ray Kahn and Douglas P Rosile, two protesters who do not believe the US government has the right to demand income tax on American wages.

The prosecution said Snipes simply wanted to avoid paying tax.

He had sent the government a 600-page document in which he called himself a "non-taxpayer".

None of the three defendants called witnesses.



SEE ALSO
Jury is out in Snipes tax trial
30 Jan 08 |  Entertainment
Stallone listed to support Snipes
15 Jan 08 |  Entertainment
Snipes arrested in tax fraud case
08 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Wanted Snipes 'on set in Namibia'
20 Oct 06 |  Entertainment
Arrest warrant for actor Snipes
18 Oct 06 |  Entertainment

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