Wesley Snipes Surrenders - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Wesley Snipes Surrenders

AP AP

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Wesley Snipes surrendered to authorities Friday on tax fraud charges, two months after he was indicted, said federal officials and a publicist for his new film.

Snipes flew on a private jet from Namibia, where he is filming "Gallow Walker," to an Orlando airport to turn himself in, said Ian Thompson, a spokesman for Sheer Films, which is producing the movie. U.S. Attorney's spokesman Steve Cole in Tampa confirmed the arrest.

After a morning appearance in federal court in Ocala, Snipes planned to return to Africa to finish the movie, Thompson said from his London office.

Snipes was charged in October with fraudulently claiming refunds totaling nearly $12 million 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 percent of refunds from clients, according to the indictment.

The 44-year-old actor has said he is a scapegoat and was unfairly targeted by prosecutors. If convicted, he faces up to 16 years in prison.

"Gallow Walker," a cowboy picture, will be completed next week and released sometime next fall, Thompson said. Snipes' arrest wasn't expected to delay the film, he said.

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