Snipes tax evasion trial underway

Jan. 17, 2008 at 12:32 PM

OCALA , Fla., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Wesley Snipes' legal team said the U.S. actor intended to pay $11 million in back taxes, but was waiting for information from the Internal Revenue Service.

While lawyer Robert Bernhoft contended Snipes was the victim of bad financial advice and was "ready to pay and file" as soon as he got some questions about his need to file returns answered by the IRS, prosecutors said Snipes belonged to a group of tax protesters who willfully attempted to defraud the U.S. government, FOX News reported.

Also standing trial with Snipes are tax protester Eddie Ray Kahn and former accountant Douglas Rosile.

"The defendants Snipes, Kahn and Rosile willfully agreed to defraud the United States of revenue it was due," prosecutor Robert O'Neill said Wednesday during opening statements in the tax evasion trial taking place in Ocala, Fla.

If convicted, Snipes faces up to 16 years behind bars and could be forced to pay tens of millions in fines and back taxes, FOX News said.

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