Stephen Baldwin pleaded guilty to a tax evasion charge in Rockland County Court and he would pay the money back soon, his lawyer Russell Yankwitt said on Friday, March 29. The actor, who failed to pay his due repeatedly, was ordered to pay $400,000 which included the tax, penalty and interest to New York state. However, Supreme Court Justice Charles Apotheker noted that the actor had already paid $100,000.
Under a plea bargain with the court, the youngest of the four acting Baldwin brothers would not be jailed so that he could pay back the money. Yankwitt said his client was "happy that he's not going to jail." Baldwin had to pay his debt to the state in a year if he wanted the case to be deleted from his record. Otherwise, he would face five years of probation, and the money must be repaid in the same time.
Baldwin, however, claimed that he did not intend to avoid paying tax. He ordered some professionals to handle the matter. "Unfortunately, I got some really bad suggestions and advice from lawyers and accountants," said Baldwin outside the court in New City, New York. "I'm just grateful for the opportunity to rectify this situation. I look forward to getting the $300,000 paid in the next year," he added.
Baldwin was arrested in December after he failed filing taxes in 2008, 2009 and 2010, but was released later on his own recognizance. According to CNN, authorities said that the charge was applied after Rockland County, New York, Special Investigations Unit and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance conducted an investigation. The next hearing will be held in June to see the development of the payment.