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Wesley Snipes Gets 3 Years in Jail

wesley_snipes_prison.jpgcounts of evasion still comes with a hefty price: The actor on Thursday (April 24) was sentenced to three years in prison and fined up to $5 million, the maximum punishment possible under federal guidelines.

Though Snipes had escaped more serious charges that he'd been part of a scheme to defraud the IRS with bogus refund claims - a jury accepted his argument that he had innocently taken bad advice by questionable advisers - prosecutors urged U.S. District Judge William Hodges in Ocala, Florida, to hand out a tough sentence for the misdemeanors, and thus demonstrate to taxpayers that no one is exempt from paying up. (The IRS says Snipes had not filed taxes at all from 1999-2004.) ''The fact that Snipes was acquitted on two felony charges and convicted 'only' on three misdemeanor counts has been portrayed in the mainstream media as a 'victory' for Snipes,'' a 35-page government argument read, citing Snipes' ''brazen defiance'' of tax laws. ''The troubling implication of such coverage for the millions of average citizens who are aware of this case is that the rich and famous Wesley Snipes has 'gotten away with it.' In the end, the criminal conduct of Snipes must not be seen in such a light.''