Although he stands by his word that "he never intended to defraud the government," actor Stephen Baldwin nonetheless has agreed to plead guilty to tax felony for failing to file his income tax returns for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010. By doing so, the youngest of the four Baldwin brothers avoids jail time, just by agreeing to make an admission in court and pay $350,000 in back taxes and penalties.
"He's happy that he's not going to jail. He's happy the District Attorney's office saw it was in Rockland County's best interest to have Steve remain a productive member of society," Baldwin's lawyer, Russell Yankwitt, says. "He's upset he got into this situation in the first place by depending on others...he simply was running around trying to make a living and relying on others," adds Yankwitt about his client's trust on an accountant and lawyer to handle this matter for him.
Yankwitt says that if Baldwin can pay back the $350,000 within a year, the case will be discharged, for as long as he stayed out of trouble. If he doesn't meet the one year leeway, he will be given five years to pay back the money, but he will be sentenced to probation.
The tentative plea deal was reached at a closed-door court session between Yankwitt and prosecutor Anthony Dellicarri. Yankwitt broke the news in a conference on Monday, March 11, revealing that his client would have to make his plea on March 29 before being formally sentenced by the New York City district attorney.