UPDATE: Actor, tax evader Wesley Snipes faces accusation of stalking
More than a month after Wesley Snipes lost his bid for a new tax trial, his name continues to appear in court documents and news headlines. Most recently, a New York woman has accused him of stalking her as a way to resolve his tax woes.
Snipes was convicted two years ago of failing to file tax returns from 1999 to 2004, and failure to pay taxes on $38 million in income. He was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $5 million. However, the judge in the case allowed Snipes to go free on bail while he continued work on a movie he’d already started.
When his former financial adviser, Kenneth Starr, was arrested on securities fraud charges, Snipes asked for a new trial. His reasoning was that Starr had been a key prosecution witness against him. He believed the jury should have been informed that Starr was under investigation for fraud. Unfortunately for Snipes, the judge did not see grounds for a new trial and denied the request.
Snipes's attorneys also claimed they received e-mails from two jurors who asserted that during deliberations in the Snipes trial, three jurors had made up their minds to vote guilty before they’d heard a single piece of evidence, according to TMZ.
Most recently, the New York Post reported that Starr’s wife, Diane Passage, said Snipes hired private investigators to stalk her in an effort to uncover evidence that would clear him of tax charges. Passage, a pole-dancer, lives in an Upper East Side building. The building has been dubbed the Ponzi Palace because of Starr’s Ponzi scheme involvement and because it is home to Andrew Madoff.
“I was leaving and I noticed two men trailing behind me,” Passage said. “They stood out because they were wearing dark suits on a 90-degree day. They followed me for a block and a half, and then I lost them because they were sweating so much.
“They contacted my doorman and my attorney, and said they wanted information that might help Snipes. He was a client [of Starr] in 2000 but before I met my husband. I have nothing to do with his taxes,” she added.
Passage told reporters that she had hoped her husband’s brothers would offer their houses as collateral in order to post bail.
“Ken’s health is not great at all. One brother agreed and the other one didn’t," she said. "It has been very frustrating. My bank accounts have been frozen so it is difficult. I’m talking with pay-per-view TV about a pole-dancing competition. I ran one last year and it will soon be screened on a Romanian sports network.”
UPDATE (September 10, 2010):
Wesley Snipes nemesis and Ponzi schemer Kenneth Starr has admitted he is guilty of defrauding clients, including Snipes, Martin Scorsese, and Annie Leibovitz.
"From 2009 to 2010, instead of using my client's money as I promised, I knowingly used a portion of the money for my own purposes," Starr said during a hearing in federal court in New York last week, according to The Wall Street Journal. You can read his plea agreement here.
Starr has been in custody since his arrest on May 27, 2010, when federal agents found him hiding in a closet in his Manhattan apartment.
Perhaps these latest developments will inspire Snipes to renew his insistence that he should have a new trial because Starr was the prosecution's key witness against him.
Voice of the Editor
Even though any accounting auditor would tell you it seems like there are an awful lot of tax accountants out there, surely one-third of the country isn't made up of tax preparers, so it's rather startling news to learn that one-third of Americans like to do their taxes. Who knew?
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