Rapper Fat Joe Takes the Rap with the IRS

By Teresa Ambord

Like so many celebrities, the rap star who calls himself Fat Joe got behind on his taxes. But unlike many famous tax deadbeats, he's willing to take responsibility for his own blunder instead of blaming his handlers or lashing out at authorities.
A few days before Christmas, Fat Joe appeared in a Newark, New Jersey, federal court and pleaded guilty to charges of failure to pay taxes – to the tune of $718,038 – on about $3 million of income earned in 2007 and 2008.
The forty-two-year-old rapper, whose real name is Joseph Cartagena, is a resident of Miami Beach, Florida. The charges, however, were filed in New Jersey because his income was derived from his ownership in two New Jersey–based companies, Terror Squad Productions, Inc. and Miramar Music Touring, Inc. He also had income from a company known as FJTS Corp. 
Cartagena is currently free on bail, which was set at $250,000. If convicted, he could face two years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000, plus penalties from the IRS.
While in court, US Magistrate Cathy Waldor asked Cartagena if he understood the charges. He answered, "I super-understand it." His attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, said his client "had already taken steps to resolve the situation" before the charges were brought. He said Cartagena hopes to pay what he owes by April 3, the date of his sentencing. 
Not only did Cartagena admit his tax failure, he's also turning his life around in more fundamental ways. Following the death of fellow rappers who succumbed to obesity-related diseases, he embarked on a program to slim down his rotund body. He has been very vocal about his weight loss efforts, including visiting schoolchildren in Newark, hoping to influence them about the importance of health and wellness. Of course . . . if this keeps up, Fat Joe may have to come up with a new name. 
Cartagena is a platinum-selling artist who once topped the Billboard charts. One of his biggest hits was the duet "What's Luv," with R&B singer Ashanti. He has also released a number of successful singles. Recently, Cartagena has made less news for his music than for his ongoing feud with fellow rapper 50 Cent. But 50 Cent told reporters the feud is over, and neither of them can really remember what started the dispute nearly ten years ago.
It's been more than two years since Cartagena released his last solo album, The Darkside Vol. 1, but he's gearing up now to release an eleventh album, said mtv.com, the proceeds of which should help him extinguish his tax debt and continue turning over a new leaf.
Read more celebrity news stories.

You may like these other stories...

OECD calls for coordinated fight against corporate tax avoidanceDavid Jolly of the New York Times reported that dozens of countries with the most advanced economies have agreed on principles for concrete action to prevent...
Plan ahead before you buy some shares in a stock mutual fund near yearend, when the fund is about to pay a dividend. It might be better to wait until after the fund goes "ex-dividend," that is, wait until after the...
AgFeed agrees to pay $18 million to settle SEC accounting fraud caseMichael Rapoport of the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that AgFeed Industries Inc. has agreed to pay $18 million to settle US Securities and...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Sep 24
In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards. A dashboard condenses large amounts of data into a compact space, yet enables the end user to easily drill down into details when warranted.
Sep 30
This webcast will include discussions of important issues in SSARS No. 19 and the current status of proposed changes by the Accounting and Review Services Committee in these statements.
Oct 23
Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.
Oct 30
Many Excel users have a love-hate relationship with workbook links. For the uninitiated, workbook links allow you to connect one Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to other spreadsheets, Word documents, databases, and even web pages.