The popular rap singer Ja Rule was slapped with a jail term of two years and four months for failing to file his taxes with the Internal Revenue Service.
The rapper, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, was sentenced in a federal court in Newark, N.J., on Monday. The 35-year-old hip-hop performer had previously pled guilty to three counts (see Ja Rule Pleads Guilty to Tax Charges). U.S. Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz imposed a 28-month sentence on him. “Taxpayers do not have the luxury of deciding whether to comply with laws,” she said.
According to prosecutors, from 2004 to 2008, Atkins was the sole shareholder in two businesses, ASJA Inc. and Rule Tours Inc., in which he received income from music royalties, tours and live performances.
The rapper pled guilty to charges only for tax years 2004, 2005 and 2006, but his sentence took into account the tax loss for all five years, including 2007 and 2008. Prosecutors claimed a total loss to the government of approximately $1,137,912 in tax revenues. Under his plea deal, Atkins also agreed to file accurate tax returns and to pay all the taxes and penalties he owes to the IRS.
In addition to the prison term, which will run concurrently with the rapper’s sentence on unrelated state charges, Judge Shwartz sentenced Atkins to one year of supervised release. The rapper was sentenced last month in New York to up to two years in prison on weapons charges after a gun was found in his automobile four years ago.
“I in no way attempted to deceive the government or do anything illegal,” Atkins said before he was sentenced Monday, according to the New York Post. “I was a young man who made a lot of money…I didn’t know how to deal with these finances, and I didn’t have people to guide me, so I made mistakes.”