Keane observations about life, politics and sports.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Crime Even Celebrities Don't Get Away With

Today, Wesley Snipes learned a tough lesson. Tax evasion is the one crime that celebrity status doesn't get you a "Get out of Jail Free" card for committing. Snipes was sentences to three years in prison for failing to pay his taxes.

O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake have taught us that celebrities are not liable for murder. Ted Kennedy showed us how the extremely rich get away with manslaughter. Dozens of other rich and/or famous people have avoided punishment for their various misdeeds.

However, there is an offense that Al Capone, Leona Helmsley, Pete Rose and others could have told Wesley Snipes not to commit - tax evasion. Leona Helmsley famously said "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes." Problem is little people sit on juries. While little people can excuse minor offenses like murder, they will not overlook refusal to contribute to the public dole. Politicians are well aware that little people are easily influenced by talk of solving all problems by taxing the rich. Prosecutors also understand that it is easy to anger little people by convincing that isn't paying their taxes.

I imagine lots of folks reading about this story are wondering about the accuracy of their own recent returns. That is the difference. The government has an interest in obtaining these convictions. Regular folks are convinced to be fairly honest on their tax returns by seeing a high profile person rot in prison. I don't need O.J. or Ted Kennedy in prison to convince me not to commit murder. However, Wesley Snipes going to jail will cause many folks to double check their math.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home


View My Stats