(The full list here)
Leona Helmsley, the very wealthy hotelier who was once known as the "Queen of Mean," was quoted as telling a housekeeper, "We don't pay taxes, only the little people pay taxes."
The billionaire was later convicted of 33 felony counts of trying to defraud the government, including mail fraud, tax evasion and filing false tax returns. She served 18 months in prison.
Five years ago after she died at the ripe old age of 87, she left $12 million to a dog named Trouble, her beloved poodle. The GOP doesn't want to tax these people for capital gains or inheritances, but instead wants to tax low-income Americans to help fund a $700 billion military budget, two wars, and tax cuts for the rich.
The 1992 successful film "Passenger 57" starring Monroe Hutchen (aka Wesley Snipes) made him a popular and wealthy action hero icon. Sixteen years later on April 24, 2008 he was sentenced to three years in prison for failing to file income tax returns.
On November 19, 2010 Snipes was ordered to start serving his three-year prison sentence by a federal judge who rejected the
Hollywood star's bid for a new trial. Snipes had already lost his appeal of the prison sentence stemming from his 2008 conviction in Judge Hodges' Ocala, Florida court
on three counts of "willful failure to file tax returns" for 1999 through 2001
on $7 million.
Before that, the actor remained free on bail while his attorneys had been busy filing one appeal after another trying to keep him out of prison. However, those attempts fell on deaf ears, with the Florida judge rejecting his requests, including a Hail Mary petition for a new trial.
At his sentencing, prosecutors said Snipes, a resident of Windermere, Florida, had earned more than $38 million since 1999 but had filed no tax returns or paid any taxes through October 2006
In a television appearance on December 7, 2010, Snipes was asked by CNN's Larry King if he was nervous about going to prison, and
he admitted his trepidation about doing time.
"I think any man would be nervous," Snipes said. "Given the length of time that they are suggesting that I be away from my family, away from my profession, away from my ability to provide for my family and for those who have depended upon me to contribute to society ... I think anyone would be nervous about that."
Two days later on December 9, 2010, Snipes reported to federal prison to begin his three-year sentence. A listing for Snipes is posted on the Federal Bureau of Prisons website and has his prisoner ID/registration number listed as 43355-018
|Name||Register #||Age-Race-Sex||Release Date||Location|
|WESLEY TRENT SNIPES||43355-018||49-Black-M||07-19-2013||MCKEAN FCI|
The Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) - McKean is a medium security facility housing male inmates. FCI McKean is located in
northwest Pennsylvania between Bradford and Kane, Pennsylvania. It is situated 90 miles south of Buffalo, New York, off Route 59;
and approximately 1/4 mile east of the intersection of State Route 59 and U.S. Route 219.
On May 16th, 2011 BlackMediaSCOOP reported, "It ain't looking good for actor Wesley Snipes and his family. BMS has learned he may be on the verge of losing his mansion in Alpine, NJ.
Word is he’s broke and trying to come up with $1.6 million to refinance the home. A person close to Wesley’s camp tells us “All of Wesley’s bank accounts are wiped out. His four kids have nothing to live on,” the source said. Snipes’ attorney is busy trying to find a mortgage company that would be willing to refinance the house.
Sources say the loan would have balloon interest payments that Snipes would have to pay in full when he gets out of jail in 2013. Snipes is working to land an advance on a movie deal (with Spike Lee?), while his lawyer is trying to pin down the income Snipes makes from film and TV residuals and merchandising."
On June 6, 2011, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear Snipes' appeal. Snipes is still being held at the Federal Correctional Institution - McKean and is scheduled for release on July 19, 2013.
On November 11, 2011 Reuters reported that though he is already in jail for tax evasion, the Blade star is being sued by credit card company American Express, which claims that the actor racked up a $29,343 bill with them when he was still walking free. AmEx is seeking Snipes's unpaid balance, plus interest, attorney fees and court costs.
On March 8, 2012 director Spike Lee urged the fans of his incarcerated friend Wesley Snipes to send letters of encouragement to the actor to keep his spirits up during his stint for tax evasion. The filmmaker, who directed Snipes in “Jungle Fever,” visited the actor at the Pennsylvania prison and revealed that Snipes is “in great shape mentally, physically and spiritually.” However, Lee is still encouraging the actor’s fans to keep him entertained.
“Send Your Prayers And Blessings To Our Brother Mr Wesley Snipes. Your Letters Will Mean The World To Him,” Lee tweeted.
Snipes has always maintained his innocence and insists he was duped by tax advisors.
The following month on April 13, 2012 Business Insider reported that "unless you're a true tax evader à la the great Wesley Snipes, the IRS won't come after you. People get worried about prison, but the IRS doesn't want to prosecute these cases, even if the taxpayer's being willful for silly reasons. That said, if there's a pattern of willfulness, and you show no remorse, and the IRS feels like you need to be taught a lesson, well, get ready to join Wesley Snipes."
Mister Snipes had once inferred that his prosecution may have been race-based and that he was being made an example of -- but Wesley Snipes is but one of many rich and famous Hollywood-types that was pursued for evading taxes.
On May 1st, 2012 Netflix Instant began featuring "Passenger 57" (It's about time! It's already been on HBO for ten years!)
|In January 2012, Lindsay "DUI" Lohan reportedly received notice from the IRS that she owed over $200,000 in unpaid taxes from 2009 and 2010. According to TMZ, the actress was simply unaware of the issue. (Net Worth $1.4 Million)|
|In April 2012, former NFL star Warren Sapp filed for bankruptcy, revealing that he owed $942,000 in back taxes from 2006 and 2010. (Net Worth MINUS $1 Million)|
|According to the IRS, Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon owed $1.7 million in taxes from 2008 and 2009. (Net Worth $90 Million)|
|In 2009 rapper Method Man was arrested for failing to pay $33,000 in back taxes. (Net Worth $27.5 Million )|
|In 2012 it was revealed that comedian Chris Tucker reportedly owed the government $12 million in unpaid taxes. (Net Worth MINUS $11.5 Million)|
|"Pan Am" actress Christina Ricci was hit with a federal income tax lien of nearly $180,000 on her 2008 earnings. (Net Worth $18 Million)|
|As of April 2011 "Bay Watch" actress Pamela Anderson owed over $600,000 dollars to the IRS in 2010. (Net Worth $5 Million)|
|Actor Nicolas Cage reportedly owed $6.7 million to the IRS at the end of 2009. In 2010, the actor told People Magazine that he owed $14 million in back taxes. At present, he is said to have paid around $7 million of it back. (Net Worth $18 Million)|
|After the IRS claimed Willie Nelson owed $32 million in unpaid taxes, he famously released the album "The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories?" The album generated $3.6 million toward his repayment. (Net Worth $15 Million)|
|In 2011 the supermodel Christie Brinkley vowed to repay a tax bill for over $500,000, which she claimed was the result of an error. (Net Worth $80 Million)|
|In 2008 it was reported that the once troubled "Iron Man" star Robert Downey Jr. was tax lien-free for the first time since 1992. (Net Worth $85 Million)|
|The IRS filed a $33 million tax lien against "Girls Gone Wild" creator Joe Francis in November 2009. Though his legal troubles continue, Francis has so far avoided paying the huge sum. (Net Worth $150 Million)|
|In 2011 it was reported that Al Pacino owed $188,000 in back taxes. (Net Worth $135 Million)|
|In 2010 Jennifer Lopez's " ex" Marc Anthony was hit with a $3.4 million tax lien. (Net Worth $40 Million)|
|"Hunger Games" star Wes Bentley and his estranged wife, Jennifer Quanz owed over $200,000 in delinquent and federal taxes in 2010. (Net Worth ? )|
|Supermodel Naomi Campbell owed more than $63,000 in back taxes from 2009. (Net Worth $48 Million)|
|According to E! News, Lionel Richie owes $1.13 million in unpaid taxes from 2010. (Net Worth $200 Million)|
|The troubled rapper MC Hammer was sued by Uncle Sam for $779,585 in December 2011. (Net Worth $1.5 Million)|
|"Survivor's" first winner Richard Hatch was indicted on charges that he failed to report over $1 million of winnings from the show to the IRS. He was convicted and sentenced to 51 months in prison. (A pre-sentence report listed his net worth as $500,000. )|
|The rapper Ja Rule failed to file taxes for three years and was sentenced to 28 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay $1.1 million in back taxes. (Net Worth $16 million)|
|In 2009 the actor Sinbad owed the state of California $2.5 million in personal income tax. He filed for bankruptcy later that year. (Net Worth $50,000)|
|Before Martha Stewart's insider trading troubles ever started, and before she had spent 5 months in prison, she fielded a $220,000 unpaid tax bill from New York State. (Net Worth $650 Million)|
|Darryl Strawberry, the former Mets star, has been plagued with tax troubles for decades. In January 2012, it was reported that he still owes over $400,000 to the IRS. (Net Worth $2 Million)|
|In January 2011 the "My Name is Earl" star Jaime Pressly was accused of owing over $600,000 in back taxes. (Net Worth $20 Million)|
|As of 2010, California's public record notes that Dionne Warwick owes over $2 million in taxes unpaid. (Net Worth $4 Million)|
|The long embattled baseball star Pete Rose served 5 months in federal prison in 1990 for failing to file tax returns. In 2004, he was hit with another $1 million tax lien. (Net Worth $4 Million)|
|Martin Scorsese, the famed director was hit with a $2.85 million federal tax lien in 2011. His tax troubles may have been due to a business relationship with fraudster Kenneth Starr. (Net Worth $70 Million)|
|And last, but not least, in 1982 the actress Sophia Loren served an 18-day prison sentence for tax evasion in Italy. (Net Worth - $75 Million)|
So you see Mister Snipes, it's not just talented black male American Hollywood actors that are prosecuted for income tax evasion. Al Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison for $215,000 in back taxes.
But it's odd that Patricia Spottedcrow, a mother and first time offender from Oklahoma, was sentenced to 12 years behind bars for selling $30 worth of marijuana, yet the bankers who stole trillions of dollars didn't spend one single day in jail..
And if you're reading this Mister Snipes, please make a generous donation to my PayPal account (button located near the top right of this page). I'm a 56-year-old unemployed Las Vegas casino bartender who's been out of work for almost 4 years. (They thought I was too old! The bastards!) Or email if you'd like...maybe you can offer me a good-paying job when you get out.
- Here's a list of CEOs, more Hollywood celebrities and athletics and what they earn
- See some of these rich and famous people at The White House Correspondents Dinner
Also see my posts:
My related posts on tax evasion: