Lawyer: Stephen Baldwin to avoid jail in tax case

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by Associated Press

Associated Press

Posted on March 11, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 11 at 10:37 AM

NEW CITY, N.Y. (AP) — Actor Stephen Baldwin will avoid prison and get up to five years to pay back taxes of about $350,000, his lawyer said Monday.

Attorney Russell Yankwitt spoke after a closed-door conference with prosecutors and a judge in Rockland County, N.Y. Baldwin was not at the conference.

Baldwin is accused of not paying New York state income taxes from 2008 to 2010.

Yankwitt said that under a tentative agreement, Baldwin will plead guilty this month to a tax felony.

He says if Baldwin pays the money within a year, his record will be wiped clean. If not, he will be sentenced to probation and given five years to pay back the money.

"He relied upon others. He no longer does that," the attorney said, citing an accountant and a previous lawyer. "He never intended to defraud the government. The government understands that."

Baldwin, of Grandview, N.Y., starred in 1995's "The Usual Suspects." He's the youngest of four acting Baldwin brothers.

Yankwitt, asked about how Baldwin will pay the taxes, replied, "He's doing commercials, he's acting."

"The economy is not what it was, and Mr. Baldwin is a faith-based actor, which makes it harder to get roles," said Yankwitt, describing Baldwin as a born-again Christian. "In the past he did movies that portrayed violence and drugs. He no longer does those types of movies."

Asked if the actor's brothers were helping out, Yankwitt said, "Mr. Baldwin is thankful for the love and support of his family."

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