A judge has sentenced Wesley Snipes to three years in prison for tax evasion, it was revealed late Thursday afternoon.

The actor was not forced to surrender immediately, however–the judge ruled that he could turn himself in at a later date, closer to his New Jersey home.

Nathan J. Hochman, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, said, "Snipes’ long prison sentence should send a loud and crystal clear message to all tax defiers that if they engage in similar tax defier conduct, they face joining him and his co-defendants…as inmates in prison."

Snipes was convicted in February on three misdemeanor charges for not filing his taxes. The government claimed he owed $2.7 million– but Snipes’ attorney argued it was just $228,000. No fine was imposed, but the three year sentence was the maximum he could have gotten. The actor’s celebrity friends, Denzel Washington and Woody Harrelson both wrote letters in his defense to appeal for leniency. 

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