Saturday, February 15, 2014

Wesley Snipes

Wesley Snipes is a Hollywood actor best known for his various starring roles in action flicks in the 1990s. Snipes was one of the most bankable black actors up until several years ago. Unfortunately, Snipes's ego eventually got the better of him as he apparently came to believe that "his shit didn't stink" and thought he shouldn't have to pay federal income taxes on the millions of dollars of income he received from his various acting roles over the years. When the IRS brought criminal charges against Snipes, he was convicted of various charges and sentenced to 3 years in prison for his crimes in a practically unbelievable fall from grace.

Wesley Snipes was born on July 31, 1962 in Orlando, Florida, although he grew up in the Bronx in New York City.  Snipes decided to pursue acting at any early age and attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing, a school popularized in the movie Fame.  However, Snipes moved back to Orlando during his teenage years.  After graduating from high school, Snipes local dinner theaters and regional productions.

Snipes' first movie role was in the 1986 movie Wildcats, where he played a high school football player.  Snipes followed up with a major role in the famous 1987 Michael Jackson video for Bad.  Snipes also had a starring role as a boxer in the 1987 movie, Streets of Gold.

Snipes turned down a minor role in the 1989 Spike Lee movie, Do the Right Thing, for a larger role in the hit baseball comedy movie Major League, where he played Willie Mays Hayes, a speedy slap hitter.  Snipes' role in Major League was well-received and really put him on the map with mainstream audiences.  After the success of Major League, Snipes became one of the most sought-after black actor actors in Hollywood.

Snipes followed up on the success of Major League by appearing in starring roles in both Jungle Feaver and New Jack City in 1991.  Snipes' performances were acclaimed and his star was clearly on the rise as of the early 1990s.  Snipes later appeared in starring role in the 1992 sports comedy, White Men Can't Jump. Snipes followed up with roles in the 1992 action hit, Passenger 57, and the 1993 action hit, Demolition Man, where he showed off his martial arts skills.

Snipes later appeared in the cult-classic 1998 vampire action flick, Blade, and subsequently appeared in two Blade sequels, Blade II, and Blade: Trinity.

However, after the 1990s had passed, Snipes' star started to fade as audiences tired of him and the roles he was offered became few and far between.  Snipes' personal life started crashing down upon him at the same time.  Snipes apparently thought he was immune to the federal tax laws, as he unbelievably filed a false tax refund claim of over $4 million for the 1996 tax year, a false tax refund claim of over $7.3 million for the 1997 tax year, and also failed to file any federal tax returns for the tax years between 1999 and 2004.

Not surprisingly, the IRS was none to too pleased with Snipes' apparent tax fraud.  Snipes was charged with defrauding the IRS and with one count of knowingly making or aiding and abetting the making of a false and fraudulent claim for payment against the United States. Snipes additionally charged with six counts of willfully failing to file federal income tax returns by their filing date.

Snipes must have squandered his acting fortune, as he apparently lacked the means to pay his tax bills.  In 2005, desperate for money, Snipes initially agreed to fight Joe Rogan in a mixed martial arts match, although later backed down out of fear of receiving a vicious pummeling.   Snipes defended himself in his legal case by raising an absurd defense that he was not a U.S. citizen and therefore was not obligated to pay federal taxes, despite the fact that Snipes was born in the U.S. and is therefore a U.S. citizen by birthright.  Snipes was also so desperate to avoid jail time that he claimed that he was the victim of a racist conspiracy notwithstanding his obvious fraudlent actions.

The government's action against Snipes went to court in 2008, where he was found guilty of willful failure to file federal income tax returns and was sentenced to three years in prison.  Snipes began serving his sentence in 2010 was was released in 2013.  Snipes has apparently tried to return to the limelight and is reportedly set to appear in a minor role in the 2014 action flick, Expendables 3.

Wesley Snipes was once one of the most bankable black actors in Hollywood.  He must have felt like he was invincible and that the world was his oyster by the late 1990s.  However, Snipes' arrogance apparently got the better of him as his squandered his fortune and willfully failed to pay his federal taxes.  Snipes' stunning fall from grace led to a three-year prison sentence.  Accordingly, there is no doubt that Wesley Snipes is on washed-up celebrity!