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The 15 greatest tax cheats of all-time

While you're busy trying to scrounge up the last of your receipts and weighing whether you can write off the Spice channel as a business expense, take a look at this list Slop Culture has compiled of the 15 greatest celebrity tax cheats of all time.

  1. Al Capone – The granddaddy of 'em all. Legend has it that the notorious gangster once remarked that tax laws were a joke because "the government can't collect legal taxes on illegal money." But the government could, and it was that law that enabled the FBI to pursue and arrest Capone when sufficient evidence could not be found to indict him for his years of illegal gambling, prostitution, murder, and bootlegging. (And Geraldo still found jack shit in his vault).
  2. Willie Nelson – In 1990, Nelson was hit with a bill for $16.7 million in back taxes from the IRS. To help him pay it, the IRS confiscated and auctioned off his assets. Fortunately for Nelson, many of them were bought by fans and given back to him. He also made an album to support himself called The IRS Tapes. These days, he's featured in H&R Block Super Bowl ads (as well as a spokesperson for marijuana).
  3. Richard Pryor – Pryor served 10 days in a Los Angeles county jail in 1974 for tax evasion. According to him, he told the judge he forgot. He also said what the judge's reply was, but we won't repeat that here.
  4. Sophia Loren – Just so you don't think this is a strictly American phenomenon, Loren spent 18 days in an Italian jail for tax evasion. Yes, even really beautiful people have to pay their taxes.
  5. Barry Bonds – Bonds has not been convicted, charged, or even arrested for anything yet. But if what the authors of Game of Shadows uncovered is true, Bonds could be in hot water for giving unreported money to his then-mistress Kimberly Bell. Some speculate that his tax problems - not his alleged steroid use - will be what eventually brings about his downfall.
  6. Richard Hatch – When you're the first winner of a high-profile million-dollar reality show, it's usually a good idea to report that money to the IRS. Hatch never did. As of this writing, he has yet to be sentenced.
  7. Darryl Strawberry – In 1995, another chapter was added to the sad tale of Darryl Strawberry's fall from grace when a court ordered him to pay $350,000 in back taxes and sentenced him to six months of home confinement. Things mostly got worse from there.
  8. Martha Stewart – Stewart argued that she shouldn't have to pay New York state taxes in 2002. After all, she said, she barely spent any time in New York. Unfortunately, a judge busted her with her own material: a passage from one of her books that said she had a house in East Hampton. Stewart paid up.
  9. Luciano Pavoratti – Pavoratti was twice accused of tax evasion: once in 1999 and again in 2001. The second time he was acquitted, but in '99, he did have to pay $11 million to the Italian government.
  10. Mystikal – Mystikal failed to pay about $270,000 in taxes and was sentenced to a year in prison. But there was a silver lining in his story: he was allowed to serve it concurrently with the six-year sentence for sexual battery he was already serving.
  11. Boris Becker – The tennis great avoided jail in '02 and received probation. He also paid 3 million Euros for back taxes owed to the German government. We have no idea what that would be in 2006 dollars, or in Deutsche marks.
  12. Spiro Agnew – Richard Nixon's VP resigned in 1973 after pleading no contest to charges of tax evasion and money laundering. He was replaced by Gerald Ford. Things mostly got worse from there.
  13. Don King – Only in America: King, who was convicted of manslaughter and pled the fifth amendment in front of the Senate when asked about his connection to John Gotti, was indicted on charges of tax evasion in 1991. A mistrial was declared, and King went on to fight another day.
  14. Ronald Isley – The R&B legend was convicted of tax evasion this year, but his sentencing was postponed indefinitely. He's currently recovering from a stroke.
  15. Steffi Graf – In 1995, Graf was accused by German authorities of tax evasion on her tennis winnings in the early part of her career. At the time, though, Steffi's father, Peter Graf, was in charge of her finances. The charges against Steffi were eventually dropped after she paid 1.3 million deutsche marks, and her father spent close to four years in prison.
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