Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ja Rule Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion; Faces an Additional Year in Prison, $1 Million Fine

This afternoon in the How You Doin state of New Jersey, rapper Ja Rule pleaded guilty to failing to file tax returns (much like almost everyone else in the industry) and promised to pay more than $1 million in back taxes and penalties -- he also faces additional time in the clink, too.
Ja Rule, whose original name is Jeffrey Atkins, 35, pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to three counts of failing to file a tax return, from 2004 through 2008, even though he was making money from royalties and live tours. The Grammy-nominated rapper and New Jersey resident agreed to pay the government more than $1.1 million in tax debts, plus penalties imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, according to federal prosecutors. "Each of us must pay our fair share to keep this country going," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement. U.S. federal judge Patty Shwartz set bail at $500,000 and permitted Atkins' release pending sentencing scheduled for June 13. He faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison on each count. In December, Atkins was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to a weapons possession charge stemming from a 2007 incident in which he was pulled over by police who discovered a semi-automatic handgun hidden in his luxury car.
As part of his plea deal today, the government dismissed two counts against him for unpaid taxes on about $1 million he earned in 2007 and 2008. When the June 13 sentencing date comes, Ja Rule will already be in prison serving the two-year sentence from the weapon charges. (He's expected to report to prison on June 8.)
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