Rap singer Ja Rule has admitted to failing to file tax returns for five years, causing a loss to the government of over $1.1 million.
The rapper, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of failing to file tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service during a court appearance in Newark, N.J. Atkins, 35, of Saddle River, N.J., entered his guilty plea to three of the five counts of failing to file his tax returns before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz.
According to the charges filed against him and the statements made in Newark federal court, during the period in question, Atkins was the sole shareholder of ASJA Inc. and Rule Tours Inc. He admitted that during the five tax years from 2004 through 2008, he received music royalty income from ASJA Inc. and music tour and live performance-related income from Rule Tours Inc.
While Atkins has pleaded guilty to charges specifically related to tax years 2004, 2005 and 2006, the terms of his plea agreement state that the tax loss for all five years, including 2007 and 2008, will be taken into account at sentencing—a total loss to the government of approximately $1,137, 912.
As part of his guilty plea, Atkins has promised to pay the government his outstanding debt of over one million dollars, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.
Atkins has also agreed to file true and accurate tax returns and to pay all taxes and penalties owed to the IRS. Judge Shwartz set bail at $500,000 and permitted Atkins’ release pending sentencing, currently scheduled for June 13, 2011.
“With this year’s April 18th tax deadline just around the corner, it is important for people to have confidence that when they pay their taxes, their neighbors and competitors will do the same. Nobody is above the law,” said Victor W. Lessoff, special-agent-in-charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation division’s Newark Field Office, in a statement. “Today’s guilty plea by Mr. Atkins again emphasizes that the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue their aggressive pursuit of those who would attempt to defraud America’s tax system.”
In addition to the tax charges, the singer is also facing sentencing in June on weapons charges stemming from a separate case in New York. A loaded gun was found in his car after he gave a concert at New York City’s Beacon Theatre. Atkins has agreed to a two-year prison term in that case, but his attorney is expected to ask the judge for it to be served concurrently with the term for the tax charges, according to the New York Post.
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