Back in October we mentioned that Wesley Snipes was charged with with fraudulently claiming refunds totaling nearly $12 million. He also was charged with failure to file returns from 1999 through 2004.
Yesterday (Friday) Snipes arrived in Orlando on a private jet from the African nation of Namibia, where he was filming his latest film, the cowboy flick "Gallow Walker." (scheduled to be released some time next year) He surrendered to authorities and was quickly arraigned and released on $1 million bond after pleading not guilty to the federal charges.
According to the indictment, Snipes had his taxes prepared by accountants who apparently have a history of filing false returns to reap large payments for their clients. The firm American Rights Litigators would receive 20 percent of refunds from clients, according to the indictment.
Snipes has denied he had anything to do with the charges. "It appears I'm to be the scapegoat, because there's more public interest in 'celebrities gone bad' than 'rich people being taken advantage of,' " Snipes told the Orlando Sentinel earlier this week. At the airport, Snipes commented, "I look forward to clearing my name and resolving this issue posthaste."
If convicted, he faces up to 16 years in prison.