Frank A. Rubino , ESQ.

FEDERAL AND INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL DEFENSE

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Florida/New Jersey rapper faces jail time for tax fraud

A well-known rapper who makes his home in both Miami Beach, Florida, and Tenafly, New Jersey, is facing jail time for tax evasion. Rapper "Fat Joe" (Joseph Cartegena) pleaded guilty this past December to tax crimes involving his failure to pay taxes on over $1 million for 2007 and 2008.

A federal judge in Newark, New Jersey, sentenced the rapper this past Monday to a four-month prison term, followed by one year of supervised release time, and a $15,000 fine. He has until Aug. 26 to report for his prison term.

The case was heard in New Jersey because several of the rapper's businesses, where some of his income is derived from, are located in the state: Terror Squad Production Inc. and Miramar Music Touring Inc.

The U.S. magistrate stated that she had taken into account allegations that Cartegena had not paid taxes on over $3 million of income from 2007 to 2010. Prosecutors calculated that this amounted to a $718,038 of lost income to the government.

The 42-year-old rapper appeared remorse as he made his apologies in the courtroom. He spoke of growing up in the Bronx and trying to make life better. It appears he wanted to give back to the community, and is disappointed that he ended up in the courtroom.

"Fat Joe," who once topped the billboard charts, claims he just signed a new record deal in hopes to pay his arrears. His attorney stated that he has also liquidated his retirement accounts to make restitution.

Newark, New Jersey, appears to be a popular locale lately for tax fraud. In May, singer Lauryn Hill was sentenced to three months jail time for tax avoidance of around $1 million over the past 10 years. In addition, two sons of the founder of Sugar Hill Records also appeared in the Newark courtroom in May for failure to file taxes; they were both sentenced to probation.

Tax evasion is a federal offense and these cases can be complex. Having an experienced attorney represent you can be an enormous benefit in wading through the complicated paperwork and negotiating a good outcome.

Source: detroitnews.com, "Rapper 'Fat Joe' sentenced in NJ for tax evasion" Samantha Henry, Jun. 24, 2013

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