LOS ANGELES – Last week saw Wesley Snipes, one of the world’s most notorious white-collar criminals, released from a federal prison in Pennsylvania.
Snipes, known as the “Blade of Wall Street,” was finally caught after almost single-handedly causing America’s economic collapse because he owed $2.7 million in back taxes, according to Forbes.com. He will be confined to his home until July 19—a punishment reserved for social predators like Snipes.
Lead prosecutor in the case, Robert O’Neill, the acting United States attorney for the Middle District of Florida, was dismayed that a racketeer who endangered the livelihoods of thousands—if not millions of Americans—is back out amongst the public he nearly destroyed.
“Mr. Snipes showed no remorse. The way he sliced through retirement funds and sub-prime loans, it was as if he was some type of half-man, half-monster. His actions were the most gruesome I have ever encountered in my career,” said O’Neill. “I regret we only got this social vampire once he failed to file tax returns.”
While the prosecution of financial fraud continues to decline under the Obama administration, the public is nonetheless encouraged by Snipes’ punished. However, his behavior while in leadership roles at JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.—banks that still receive $64 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies, according to Bloomberg News—remains unchallenged.
Judge William Terrell Hodges of Federal District Court, who sentenced Snipes in 2008, responded to Snipes’ release by saying“I can only hope his time in prison has reformed him. Rather than being a pilot in corruption, perhaps he will be content being a benevolent passenger for 57 or however many years he has left to live.”
O’Neill, who is not as optimistic, dwelled on the damage Snipes caused. “He was a demolition man.”