Rapper Ja Rule Sentenced in Federal Tax Return Case

July 18, 2011

The Associated Press (AP) on July 18, 2011 released the following:

Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Rapper and actor Ja Rule was sentenced Monday to more than two years in federal prison for failing to file income tax returns, and said a combination of youthful inexperience, bad advice and an inability to manage fame and fortune lead to his financial troubles.

“I in no way attempted to deceive the government or do anything illegal,” he said, minutes before being sentenced in a New Jersey federal court. “I was a young man who made a lot of money – I’m getting a little choked up – I didn’t know how to deal with these finances, and I didn’t have people to guide me, so I made mistakes.”

The multiplatinum-selling artist, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, admitted in March that he failed to pay taxes on more than $3 million that he earned between 2004 and 2006 while living in Saddle River. Although he pleaded guilty to three counts of unfiled taxes, he admitted he hadn’t filed for five years, according to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.

Ja Rule was sentenced in New York City last month to up to two years in prison after he pleaded guilty to attempted criminal weapon possession. The case stemmed from a gun found in his car in 2007. Police said they stopped Ja Rule’s $250,000-plus Maybach sports car for speeding and found a loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic gun in a rear door. The gun wasn’t registered. He was charged under a New York law that generally bars people from having firearms outside their homes or workplaces.

In the federal case, U.S. Magistrate Patty Shwartz in Newark ruled that the majority of his 28-month federal sentence could be served at the same time as the New York state prison sentence.

Depending on his release date for his New York sentence – he could serve as little as 18 months in that case by meeting good behavior requirements and other standards – he could serve from four to 12 months of the federal sentence. The federal time will be served at the Oneida Correctional Facility in upstate New York, where he is serving the state sentence.

He has also been ordered to pay $1.1 million in unpaid taxes.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Mack had asked the judge not to let Ja Rule off with no jail time on the federal charges, saying a message had to be sent.

“The court should impose the same sentence it would impose on someone who is not a celebrity,” Mack said.

Now 35, Ja Rule first emerged as a hardcore rapper in the late 1990s but then became known for his collaborations with female pop singers, including Jennifer Lopez and Ashanti. He scored a best rap album Grammy Award nomination in 2002 with “Pain Is Love” and has sold nearly 20 million albums during his career.

He also has appeared in more than a dozen movies, including the 2001 film “The Fast and the Furious” and 2003’s “Scary Movie 3.”

On Monday, he wore a bright yellow prison jumpsuit and was handcuffed at the wrists. He turned to look at his wife, seated in the courtroom behind him, after the sentence was read. His wife, who was his high school sweetheart, declined to comment after the hearing, saying only that it was a stressful time. The couple have three children and still live in Saddle River.

Ja Rule’s attorney, Stacy Richman, said her client was a talented high-school dropout who had not had the business prowess to handle sudden fame. When his business empire began to crumble, he became paralyzed by fear and inaction, she argued. She added that the Queens, N.Y., native never forgot his roots and made it a point to give back to his community after becoming famous.

In asking the judge for leniency, Ja Rule said he wanted to get back to work as soon as possible.

“My business is very `out of sight, out of mind,'” he told the judge. “The longer I’m away, the longer it’ll take me to get back to doing what I need to do to actually pay these taxes.””

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Arizona Man Charged with Alleged $7 Million Internet Scheme and Tax Evasion

August 12, 2010

A federal grand jury in Tucson returned an 88-count indictment against Anthony Mark Boscarino, 44, of Phoenix, formerly of Tucson, on August 4, 2010. Boscarino is charged with 51 counts of wire fraud, 17 counts of money laundering, 8 counts of mail fraud, and several tax evasion and firearms charges.

The indictment alleges Boscarino used his sports handicapping Internet business, called Mike’s Lock Club, to solicit customers to invest in several fraudulent schemes.

One alleged scheme involved soliciting money from investors to give to a fictitious high limit slot machine player who made regular trips to Las Vegas to play with investor money. The indictment alleges investors wired the defendant more than $7,688,000 and that he diverted approximately $5,000,000 through various financial institutions for his own personal use.

The indictment also charges the defendant with making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was investigating one of his schemes, and with evading paying taxes on more than $2.6 million in income in 2008 and 2009, and failing to pay $400,000 in back taxes he had agreed to pay after failing to file taxes from 1999 to 2006. He was also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of two shotguns and one pistol recovered from his Phoenix residence, and allegedly making false statements on a firearm purchase form about his lack of felony convictions when he bought two firearms from a Tucson gun dealer.

An indictment does not mean that the individual is guilty. In fact, because the indictment is granted by a grand jury that is only presented with the government’s story, there is a high likelihood that much of the allegations are not the truth. Unfortunately, the individual being indicted does not have an opportunity to present their case until trial, and has no power to prevent an indictment against themselves.

A conviction for mail fraud or wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years, and/or a fine of $250,000 or both; 10 years and/or a fine of $250,000 for money laundering; five years and/or a fine of $100,000 for failure to pay taxes and tax evasion; 10 years and/or a fine of $250,000 for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon; and five years and/or a fine of $250,000 for making false statements on a federal form required for the purchase of a firearm.

If convicted, the judge will most likely follow the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, even though he is not required to do so. Even if Boscarino is acquitted of most of the charges against him, the judge is permitted to consider those as other bad acts, and apply them to his sentence, which is usually very detrimental to the individual.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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