Marshals' order calls for Wesley Snipes to start sentence

Wed Dec 1, 2010 5:23pm EST
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ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - The U.S. Marshals Service has ordered actor Wesley Snipes to report to prison in northwest Pennsylvania no later than noon on December 9 to begin serving a 3-year sentence on tax charges, according to a notice filed in the U.S. District Court in Ocala on Wednesday.

Snipes has been convicted for willful failure to file federal income tax returns.

The notice tells Snipes to report to Federal Correction Institution McKean in Lewis Run, Pennsylvania.

McKean, 90 miles south of Buffalo, New York, is a medium-security facility for men with an adjacent satellite prison camp for minimum security male inmates, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.

Snipes has a motion pending before U.S. District Judge Terrell Hodges in Ocala asking to remain free pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. There is no indication in court records when the judge will rule. A federal court clerk said "any motion not ruled upon is deemed denied until ruled upon."

Snipes' lawyer Daniel Meachum of Atlanta could not be reached immediately for comment.

However, Meachum filed a notice on Wednesday that he will appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal a ruling by Hodges rejecting Snipes' arguments for a new trial and ordering him to prison.

Snipes was charged in a 2006 indictment with trying to illegally collect a $7.3 million federal tax refund and failing to file tax returns from 2000 to 2005. The indictment included felony tax fraud charges, but Snipes was convicted in 2008 of only three misdemeanor charges of willful failure to file three federal income tax returns.

At his sentencing, prosecutors said Snipes had earned more than $38 million since 1999, but as of that date, had filed no tax returns and paid no taxes. The day of his sentencing, his lawyers brought checks totaling $5 million which they gave to IRS agents during a recess. The lawyers also said Snipes was working to resolve his tax debt in a civil setting.

(Reporting by Barbara Liston; Editing by Jerry Norton)

<p>Actor Wesley Snipes attends the "Brooklyn's Finest" photocall during the 66th Venice Film Festival September 8, 2009. REUTERS/Tony Gentile</p>