Tax Protester Linked to Snipes Convicted

The Associated Press
Saturday, December 9, 2006; 9:33 PM

PHILADELPHIA -- A man who contended that he was not required to pay income tax, and whose case led to an indictment against actor Wesley Snipes, has been convicted of tax evasion.

Arthur Farnsworth, 44, from near Sellersville in Bucks County, was convicted Friday. He remains free on bail and is scheduled to be sentenced March 7.

One of Farnsworth's attorneys, Peter Goldberger, said the defense argued their client did not intend to break the law and only failed to pay taxes because he believed the system was voluntary.

"The issue is not whether he was right or wrong. The issue was whether he was sincere in what he believed," Goldberger said.

The Farnsworth case became better known nationally on Wednesday when testimony tied it to the case against Snipes. Internal Revenue Service Special Agent James Morris testified Wednesday that agents found documents in Farnsworth's home in 2002 that led to a nationwide investigation into fraudulent trust funds. One of the funds was designed to hide money and assets to avoid payment of federal income taxes.

Wayne Rebuck, a former director at the company that sold the trusts, testified in Farnsworth's trial that Snipes owned one of the trusts.

Snipes was indicted in October on eight counts of tax fraud. He pleaded not guilty on Friday and said he looks forward to clearing his name.

© 2006 The Associated Press