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Stephen Baldwin charged in tax case

Last updated 10:58 07/12/2012
Stephen Baldwin
Actor Stephen Baldwin has been charged with failing to pay taxes for three years.
Stephen Baldwin
CHARGED: Stephen Baldwin

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Actor Stephen Baldwin has been charged with failing to pay New York state taxes for three years, amassing a US$350,000 debt.

Baldwin skipped his taxes in 2008, 2009 and 2010, said Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe.

The youngest of the four acting Baldwin brothers pleaded not guilty at an arraignment and was freed without bail.

His lawyer, Russell Yankwitt, said Baldwin should not have been charged.

''Mr. Baldwin did not commit any crimes, and he's working with the district attorney's office and the New York State Tax Department to resolve any differences,'' Yankwitt said.

The district attorney said Baldwin could face up to four years in prison if convicted. The actor is due back in court February 5.

Zugibe said Baldwin owes more than US$350,000 in tax and penalties. ''We cannot afford to allow wealthy residents to break the law by cheating on their taxes,'' the district attorney said.

''The defendant's repetitive failure to file returns and pay taxes over a period of several years contributes to the sweeping cutbacks and closures in local government and in our schools.'' Thomas Mattox, the state tax commissioner, said,

''It is rare and unfortunate for a personal income tax case to require such strong enforcement measures.''

Baldwin, 46, starred in 1995's The Usual Suspects and appeared in 1989's Born on the Fourth of July.

He is scheduled to appear next year on NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice. His brothers Alec, William and Daniel are also actors.

A bankruptcy filing in 2009 said Stephen Baldwin owed US$1.2 million on two mortgages, US$1 million in taxes and $70,000 on credit cards.

In October, Baldwin pleaded guilty in Manhattan to unlicensed driving and was ordered to pay a US$75 fine. Earlier this year, he lost a US$17 million civil case in New Orleans after claiming that actor Kevin Costner and a business partner duped him in a deal related to the cleanup of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The actors and others had formed a company that marketed devices that separate oil from water. Baldwin co-hosts a radio show with conservative talk figure Kevin McCullough.  

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- AP

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