Saturday, June 09, 2007

Tax evasion & fraud not just for rich white guys anymore!

No doubt you've heard of the infamous phrases "driving while black", "dying while black", "voting while black" and "walking while black" but now we have a new one..."prosecuted for tax evasion/fraud while black".

I can't remember the last time I heard a story about someone getting busted for tax evasion that didn't involve a wealthy white collar white guy. So I hardly believe that suddenly the feds are targeting Wesley Snipes because of the color of his skin.

According to this story Wesley Snipes is claiming he's the victim of racism and being targeted for prosecution because he's black while two co-defendants are not being charged because they are white. Snipes claims that the co-defendants gave him "unscrupulous tax advice".

The story reads:

The Oct. 17 indictment charges Snipes with fraudulently claiming refunds totaling nearly $12 million in 1996 and 1997 for income taxes already paid. The star of the "Blade" trilogy and other films also was charged with failure to file returns from 1999 through 2004.
The indictment said Snipes conspired with American Rights Litigators' founder Eddie Ray Kahn and tax preparer Douglas P. Rosile Sr. to file false refund claims based on a bogus argument that only income from foreign sources was subject to taxation.

Snipes' motion says he should be counted among 2,000 people who relied on Kahn and Rosile for tax advice, not as one of their co-defendants.

The indictment said Kahn and Rosile, through American Rights Litigators, collected fees of up to 20 percent of refunds from fraudulent tax returns. Rosile's attorney, David Wilson, said Sunday his client never gave Snipes any tax advice.

"Mr. Rosile never met Mr. Snipes," Wilson said.

There are two issues here--first, possible fraud and second, not filing tax returns for five years. If Wesley Snipes is found innocent, good for him. But if he's found guilty of one or both he should receive the appropriate sentence.

In the meantime, there is some good news in this. All the wealthy, tax-evading, corporate white guys out there can breathe a sigh of relief to know the feds haven't been targeting them based solely on the color of their skin.

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