Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oh no he did...ent

Not a really good thing to say to the IRS. In my mind its the equivalent of beating on a hornet's nest with a stick while saying leave me alone.

Snipes warned IRS agents: Back off or face 'increased collateral risk'

OCALA - After being indicted in 2006, actor Wesley Snipes sent a document to the Internal Revenue Service declaring he was a "nonresident alien" of the United States, refuting his Social Security number and warning that continued prosecution could lead to professional consequences for federal employees.

Among other things, the letter claimed the IRS deceives people to "terrorize, enslave, rape or pillage" taxpayers.IRS Frivolous Return Program senior technical advisor Shauna Henline read excerpts of the document into the record during Snipes' tax evasion trial Thursday at prosecutors' direction.

In the 600-page declaration signed by Snipes and sent Dec. 4, 2006, Snipes said he had "no ill intent or malice" and didn't want to evade any lawful requirement to pay taxes. But he went on to say the government had "no lawful authority to impose any kind of criminal sanctions."Snipes was indicted in a sealed indictment in April 2006. The indictment wasn't made public until October of that year.Snipes declared he had no taxable U.S. income, making the IRS Form 1040 "absolutely the wrong form for me to file." He also claimed taxes withheld were "stolen funds."

He chastised the IRS and prosecutors, saying their position toward him was "simply false, fraudulent and misrepresenting."The document also warned the government's "illegal collection action" would result in "significant personal liability" for those involved."Warning - pursuit of such a high profile target will open the door for your increased collateral risk," Snipes wrote. "I certainly don't believe this is in your best interest and can be avoided."

Snipes lawyer Robert Barnes said the actor didn't intend to threaten anyone."Not at all, not at all," Barnes said after court proceedings ended for the day. "A lot of it was very gentle."The document was born of Snipes' frustration in trying to deal with tax issues for years and as a reaction to being indicted, Barnes said, adding that Snipes sent a copy of the document to the U.S. Attorney's Office."

Part of his emotions are frustration, exhaustion," Barnes said. "The response was a 600-page letter. His whole point in the letter is, 'I've been trying to reach out to you guys for two years.'

Snipes and codefendants Eddie Ray Kahn and Douglas Rosile are charged each with one count of conspiracy to defraud and one count of aiding and abetting the making of a false and fraudulent claim as part of an alleged tax fraud scheme. Snipes also is charged with six counts of willfully failing to file federal income tax returns.

Earlier Thursday, a letter from Kahn to Rosile showed an apparent rift between the two over money issues. Rosile had worked for Kahn's American Rights Litigators preparing tax returns, including Snipes'. For every tax refund that customers received, ARL was to receive 20 percent, with half of that going to Rosile.

The letter, dated Jan. 14, 2002, accused Rosile of calling Kahn a "hypocritical Christian" who took advantage of Rosile. Kahn's letter said Rosile received every dollar he was due and called Rosile ungrateful.""We simply would not have used you for the work," Kahn wrote. "We would have hired another CPA or accountant that would have appreciated the opportunity we are offering."

Rosile was once a certified public accountant, but his certification was revoked in both Florida and Ohio in the 1990s.IRS agent Kathleen Arth testified she investigated tax returns prepared by Rosile, including a large number citing the so-called "861 argument" that alleges American citizens don't have to pay taxes on money earned in the United States. Rosile made no effort to meet with her, even after she issued a summons compelling him to do so, she said.The trial could be over by the end of next week.

Prosecutors said they will call their last witness Friday morning. Senior U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges agreed to let Snipes' defense team start its case Monday, citing scheduling issues with witnesses. Snipes lead counsel Robert Bernhoft said he expected the defense case to last a maximum of two days, followed by the government's rebuttal case.