Snipes arrested on tax fraud charges

ACTOR Wesley Snipes yesterday surrendered to authorities in Florida on tax fraud charges, two months after he was indicted.

Snipes flew into an Orlando airport on a private jet and voluntarily surrendered, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation.

Snipes was to appear in federal court in Ocala last night, the official said.

Snipes was charged in October with fraudulently claiming refunds totalling nearly $12 million (€9m) in 1996 and 1997 on income taxes already paid.

The star of the Blade trilogy and other films was also charged with failure to file returns from 1999 through 2004.

According to the indictment, Snipes had his taxes prepared by accountants with a history of filing false returns to reap payments for their clients. The firm, American Rights Litigators, would receive 20% of refunds from clients, according to the indictment.

The 44-year-old has said he is a scapegoat and was unfairly targeted by prosecutors.

If convicted, he faces up to 16 years in prison.

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