Wesley Snipes

Lionel Messi should blame his tax problems on ‘the accountant of God.’

Being caught for tax evasion seems like a fairly high-class problem to have. Like finding a place to dock your yacht or having gout. Al Capone, of course, is the patron saint of tax fraud. And syphilis. And Geraldo Rivera televised spectaculars. But mostly of tax fraud. And then there’s Wesley Snipes, who is the modern-day tax evader par excellence. In researching this post, I just found out that Snipes was released from prison just this past April. Welcome back Wesley!

So yeah, evading taxes tends to be, like, the sport of Kings. Capone and Snipes. Snipes and Capone. Any way you cut it, you’re in a pretty select group when you don’t pay your taxes. I, myself, have never had the chance to evade taxes as the IRS has never come after me all that hard. One of the perks of being destitute, I suppose. My cramped studio apartment is hot in the summer and cold in the winter and during all four seasons smells like old cheese. The McDonald’s sign outside the window keeps my girlfriend awake at night. But seriously, I could brag like this for at least two thousand words.

What I’m trying to say, I guess, is that the very idea of evading one’s taxes is as foreign to me as the game of soccer, a game in which I share the estimable opinion of the Prince of Soul Glo, Darryl Jenks: that’s a real cute sport.

Which is why it is fantastic that I can explore these two alien worlds concurrently. Let’s talk Lionel Messi. Let’s habla fútbol.

Let’s talk tax evasion. Let’s talk sports…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Evading Taxes Like So Many Vampires and Los Blancos Defenders”

* Wesley Snipes wants the Supreme Court to review his conviction. Or maybe he’s just doing research because he wants the lead role in a Clarence Thomas biopic: The Silence. [TaxProf Blog]

* Congratulations to David Rivkin of Debevoise & Plimpton — a man who I remember as having great seats at Shea Stadium — for scoring one for the Americans. [Am Law Daily]

* Speaking of Debevoise, I probably could have used these tips on how to resign gracefully from my former firm. Instead, I think I stood up in the middle of a conference room and started shouting, “give us, us free.” [Corporette]

* Why do law school administrators act like telling the truth is one option among many, instead of a professional responsibility? [Vault]

* You can pick up a sex slave at the Super Bowl? [Change Makers]

* Doesn’t New York State understand that judges are kind of important? [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

* Honestly, do you think that the diversity rationale for affirmative action also justifies having a preference for white males in some situations? [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Ha ha. Northwestern college kids need to see a live sex act in order to learn. [Reuters]

* If you’re on Facebook — and who isn’t? — feel free to “like” Above the Law. We’ll be getting busy on FB in the weeks ahead (like we already are on Twitter, @ATLblog). [Facebook]

Borat Borat Borat lawsuit law litigation legal Borat Borat Borat.JPG* Another week, another Borat lawsuit.
* Wow — it doesn’t take much to get lawyers all hot and bothered. But ATL readers were evidently untroubled.
* Merry Christmas. There will be no O.J. Simpson book.
* But no Britney sex tape, either.
* Wesley Snipes has some harsh words for the IRS. And Judge Posner does, too.
* We hung out a lot with the Federalist Society. We watched the social conservatives and the libertarians slug it out over cultural issues. And we learned that Judge Edith Jones isn’t the woman we thought she was.


wesley snipes above the law above the law atl atl.GIFAh, Wesley Snipes. Not only is he an alleged tax cheat, as well as a possible fugitive from justice; he’s also practically illiterate a rather poor writer.
In an email to Scott Maxwell, a writer for the Orlando Sentinel (huh?), Snipes wrote:

Hi Scott, guess you can imagine I’ve been a little busy. Wow this is so crazy . . . Scott this was almost (10) ten years ago. Why are they coming with this issue now? Were the statutes of limitation running out or what? We thought all issues had been resolved. Guess not, huh? Like the situation in New York, and Florida, I know this has more to do with a few individuals with access to power, making moves (trying to move up!) and less with some alleged crime against the whole population of the United States of America. This reminds me of Rape cases where the “victim” is flipped, turned or converted into the role of victimizer, the “architect conspirator.” It appears I’m to be the scapegoat, because there’s more public interest in “celebrities gone bad” than “rich people being taken advantage of.”

Why does Snipes think he’s being victimized? He thinks his race may have something to do with it: “Being, a black male who asks questions doesn’t help the situation either.”
An elaborate government conspiracy, directed against an African-American male celebrity? We’re getting a feeling of deja vu.
But don’t expect Snipes to write a “hypothetical” memoir titled “If I Did It.” Tax fraud isn’t quite as sexy as double homicide.
Snipes says he’s ‘scapegoat’ in tax-fraud case [Orlando Sentinel]
Actor Wesley Snipes Claims He’s “Scapegoat” in Tax Fraud Prosecution [TaxProf Blog]

Civil War Above the Law.jpg* Woo-hoo!!! Good news for online rumor-mongerers like ourselves. [Volokh Conspiracy; Instapundit]
* And a bit of bad news, too. [Concurring Opinions]
* We weren’t the only ones who had fun at Federalistapalooza. [Southern Appeal]
* “Conservative civil war”: Not just at the Federalist Society. [Andrew Sullivan; Instapundit; Ryan Sager]
* When the subject of gay marriage comes up, social conservatives bring out a parade of horribles — including polygamy. Now Ann Althouse wonders: Is it really so horrible? [Althouse]
* While we’re linking to contrarian thinking, here’s a different take on L’Affaire OJ.: “Rupert Murdoch’s relevant anatomy shrunk to the size of two shriveled peas.” [Crime & Federalism]
* Some food for thought: “If the [anti-burqa] legislation is enacted, a Dutch woman could marry her lesbian partner, spend her life smoking a little hashish now and then — and when the time comes, get a doctor’s assistance in pulling the plug — all well within Dutch law. But she couldn’t ride the subway with a veil over her face. What an odd country.” [PrawfsBlawg]
* Actually, Will, we think this is really cool. Who wants to tour Civil War battlefields when you can visit these instead? [Crescat Sententia]

wesley snipes above the law above the law atl atl.GIFThat’ll teach us to rely upon the mainstream media. Last week we passed along the news, reported by Variety, that movie star Wesley Snipes had cut a deal with the Internal Revenue Service. Snipes stands accused of engaging in massive tax fraud. According to Variety, Snipes negotiated a deal under which he wouldn’t serve any jail time, and would pay taxes and penalties to the IRS under an installment plan.
Well, we take it all back. From another MSM outlet, but a more venerable one:

Wesley Snipes, who often portrays law enforcement agents in movies, remains a federal fugitive, and no deal has been made to drop the tax fraud and conspiracy charges against him, a spokesman for Paul I. Perez, the United States attorney in central Florida, said yesterday.

Straightforward enough — on-the-record comment from a U.S.A.O. flack. So how did Variety get this so wrong?

Patrick Frater, who wrote the [Variety] article, said yesterday that he spoke to three associates of Mr. Snipes, but made no attempt to check with prosecutors about what they had said. Any blame for inaccuracy, he added, should rest on Variety editors “who put it through” into print.

Two quick thoughts. First, we never went to journalism school, but aren’t MSM reporters supposed to reach out to both parties to a story in the course of their reporting?
Second, one of the nice things about blogging is that your writing doesn’t have to be filtered through an editor. But the downside is that, when the stuff hits the fan, you have nobody to blame but yourself.
No Deal Made to Free Actor in Tax Case, Prosecutors Say [New York Times]
Earlier: Wesley Snipes Cuts a Deal with the IRS
White Men Can’t Jump — But They Can Nab You for Tax Evasion

wesley snipes above the law above the law atl atl.GIFAnd aficionados of direct-to-video movies rejoice. UPI reports:

Hollywood actor Wesley Snipes will avoid any time in jail on tax fraud charges as part of a recent settlement with the Internal Revenue Service.

The 44-year-old star of the “Blade” film trilogy had been wanted in connection with his attempt to claim $12 million in tax refunds in 1996 and 1997, but worked out a deal that helped him avoid jail while setting up a payment plan, Daily Variety said.

So if you were hoping to hear about Snipes demonstrating his martial arts abilities on Bernie Ebbers, Jeff Skilling, and Walter Forbes, we’re sorry to disappoint you.
(But Snipes getting off without a prison sentence shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Or at least it doesn’t to Ted Frank, who predicted as much last month.)
Snipes Avoids Jail Time with IRS Settlement [UPI]
Snipes Settles with IRS [Variety]
Snipes Settles Tax Fraud Charges, Will Avoid Jail Time [TaxProf Blog]
Earlier: White Men Can’t Jump — But They Can Nab You for Tax Evasion

evan caminker 4 evan h caminker dean caminker.JPGasha rangappa 2 asha rangapa asha ranggappa asha ranggapa.JPG* This week we crowned America’s hottest law school deans: Evan Caminker, of Michigan, and Asha Rangappa, of Yale. When contacted by ATL, both of them issued gracious statements.
* So there’s no contest for you to vote in over the weekend. But please participate in our informal reader poll, seeking to ascertain your Favorite Supreme Court Justice.
* Speaking of the justices, don’t they have more important things to fight over than grammar? And who knew that bright-line Nino could be so nuanced?
* A theme for this past week: Celebrities’ legal woes. E.g., Michael Jackson, Lindsay Lohan, Wesley Snipes, Madonna, and Anna Nicole Smith.
* Another theme: Getting off. E.g., Junior Gotti, Nathan Hecht, and the Duke lacrosse team (but from “innocent sexual activity”).
* Second Circuit Judge John M. Walker hits a New Haven police officer in a traffic accident. The matter is under investigation.
* Global warming practice groups — are they heating up? Or are they the next “Y2K” practice groups?
* Eh, what do you care? You can’t get a Biglaw job anyway — they’re all going to Canadians.
* Team ATL has a new recruit — and he’s proud to be an American. Meet B Clerker.
* If you hate kids, then stop reading here. But if you like ‘em, then click here, scroll down, and read about the amusing antics of attorney spawn.

wesley snipes.jpgWesley Snipes — remember him?
Okay, so you don’t (and we can’t fault you). But even if you’ve forgotten all about Mr. Snipes, the IRS hasn’t. From CNN:

Movie actor Wesley Snipes was indicted Tuesday on eight counts of tax fraud accusing him of trying to cheat the government of $12 million in false refund claims.

Snipes, 44, also failed to file tax returns for six years, according to an indictment unsealed in Tampa, Florida.

Federal prosecutors said that Snipes fraudulently claimed refunds totaling nearly $12 million in 1996 and 1997 on income taxes already paid.

The indictment also charged him with failure to file returns between 1999 and 2004.

Our reaction to this news is the same as it was to the tax case brought against “Survivor” winner Richard Hatch: How could you be so stupid?
The incomes of these men are a matter of public record: in Hatch’s case, because he won $1 million on a nationally-televised reality show, and in Snipes’s case, because it’s published in Variety each time he makes a new movie.
And the IRS is like a big talent agency: they always get their cut.
(Actually, that may be a poorly chosen reference for Snipes. This past August, he was sued for $1.5 million by United Talent Agency, “for his alleged failure to pay the agreed percentage for four film roles it helped him win.”)
Update: If you’d like to learn how much Snipes has earned for some really crappy movies, TaxProf Blog has the 411. Click here, then scroll down.
Indictment: Wesley Snipes a $12M tax cheat [CNN]
Maybe We Should All Quit Worrying About The $12 Million In False Refund Claims And Start Worrying About Blade II And That Guest Appearance On ‘Bernie Mac’ [DealBreaker]
Wesley Snipes bio [IMDb]
Wesley Snipes [celebritywonder.com]