Wesley Snipes Begins Three-Year Prison Term

Failure to file taxes leads actor to Pennsylvania big house

By Greg Wilson
|  Thursday, Dec 9, 2010  |  Updated 9:30 AM PDT
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NEW YORK - MARCH 02: Actor Wesley Snipes attends the premiere of 'Brooklyn's Finest' at AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 theater on March 2, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)

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Wesley Snipes isn't gonna like his new digs.

The onetime superstar of the screen was due to report to prison in northwestern Pennsylvania today at noon, where he'll share a room with another of the 300 inmates at the minimum security Federal Correctional Institution McKean. Snipes, star of the "Blade" movies, won't be able to watch R-rated movies, will have to submit to five headcounts a day and will only be allowed to spend just $290 a month at the prison commissary.

The "White Men Can't Jump" and "Demolition Man" star will get no special treatment from prison officials.

"We recognize that he is high profile, but we treat all our inmates the same," spokeswoman Shirley White told The Associated Press last week.

Snipes, 48, failed to file any tax returns for at least a decade, and owes $17 million in back taxes, plus penatlies and interest, according to The New York Times. He was a member of American Rights Litigators, a group that doesn't believe Americans have to pay income taxes. At trial, Snipes said he was naive.

"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance," said Snipes.

U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges threw the book at Snipes, even though the actor delivered $5 million toward his arrearage, saying the actor has "a history of contempt" for U.S. tax laws. Hodges imposed consecutive one-year terms for the three misdemeanor convictions.

“I’m very sorry for my mistakes," Snipes said at sentencing. "I acknowledge that I have failed myself and others.”

Selected Reading: The Associated Press, IMDb, The New York Times.

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