UnNews:Wesley Snipes to use "too cool" defense in tax fraud case

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Wesley Snipes to use "too cool" defense in tax fraud case

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17 October 2006

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Wesley Snipes arguably too cool to pay taxes.

WASHINGTON - Movie actor and cowboy singer Wesley Snipes was indicted Tuesday on eight counts of tax fraud, but is expected to argue that he is legally far "too cool" to pay taxes.

According to an indictment unsealed in Tampa, Florida, Snipes, 44, is accused of trying to cheat the government of $12 million in false refund claims, and alleges that he also failed to file tax returns for six years.

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.

Snipes has supposedly unofficially responded that due to his international megastar status, the refunds and failure to file are allowable under the 1997 Willie Nelson Act, which excuses entertainers of "exceptional popularity and coolness" from tax liability.

According to the indictment, Snipes had his taxes prepared by accountants with a history of filing false returns to reap payments for their clients. As part of the deal, the indictment alleges, the firm, American Rights Litigators, would receive 20 percent of refunds from clients.

Snipes faces a maximum of 16 years in prison, and subsequent revocation of his current cool status.

Snipes, who had a home in Windermere, Florida, has not been arrested because authorities are not cool enough to get near him, the IRS said.

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