Four rap stars make the IRS hit list
The list of famous, well-paid people who owe back taxes is long and getting longer. Lately, it seems the names dominating the list are those of rappers. Here are four recent additions.
Rapper Bizarre – real name, Rufus Johnson – owes more than $25,000 in state taxes to Georgia and Michigan. Michigan filed a lien against him in April for $13,853. Before that, Georgia hit him on June 12, 2009, with a lien for $11,976.
Johnson, 33, is a member of Eminem's group, D12, and is the fourth member of D12 to be chased by the tax man since the group rose to fame. The other scofflaws are Ondre Moore (also known as Swifty McVay), Denaun Porter (a.k.a. Kon Artis), and Von Carlisle (a.k.a. Kuniva). For each of the other three, the amounts due exceed $200,000, making Johnson's bill look puny by comparison. The only member of the group who is not behind on taxes is Eminem himself.
Johnson's tax attorney, Jeffrey Freeman, told The Detroit News that his client's tax debt was the result of an "accounting screw-up" by a former manager.
"Mr. Johnson accepts full responsibility for this tax liability and is currently working with the taxing authorities to pay the funds due and resolve this problem," Freeman said. "Mr. Johnson has returned to his old management team, and his tax and business issues are now being handled properly."
Next up on the Internal Revenue Service rap sheet is Ondre Moore, or Swifty McVay, also of Eminem's D12. Moore owes more than $250,000 in state and federal taxes, according to public records.
The 35-year-old rapper is no stranger to trouble. Four years ago he was supposed to appear in court on an alleged probation violation, but he had other things to do. Instead, he went to the funeral of a fellow D12 member who was killed at a club, where he served as an honorary pall bearer.
Currently he is working with the state and the IRS to come up with a payment plan, and hopes to arrive at a resolution in the next few months. As with fellow rapper Rufus Johnson, tax attorney Jeffrey Freeman points to poor business management to explain the problem. Freeman told The Detroit News:
"Mr. Moore takes full responsibility for his debt to the IRS and the state and is working with the government in resolving his outstanding tax liability. He has rejoined with his prior manager and his current business and tax matters are now being properly handled."
Here's a rundown of what is owed:
- On November 4, 2009, the state of Michigan filed a lien for $7,199 against Moore and his wife.
- On March 31, 2010, the IRS filed a lien against the couple in Los Angeles for $22,036.
- Also on March 31, 2010, the IRS filed a lien against Moore in Los Angeles for $224,749.
Then there is Chamillionaire, whose real name is Hakeem Seriki. Seriki and his wife, Deetra, are facing foreclosure on their Houston home. The house is 7,583 square feet and the asking price is $1.8 million.
The loss of the house is not the only problem. The couple also owes the IRS $184,692 in federal income tax. The lien was filed in Montgomery County, Texas, on November 23, 2009, relating to income from 2007. Chamillionaire, 30, won a Grammy in 2007.
Finally, there is Fat Joe, 39, who was born Joseph Cartagena. His money woes include a default judgment against him in a lawsuit filed by his bank for $71,611, as well as three tax liens going back to 2008.
The bank debt relates to his mansion in Plantation, Florida. Four years ago, Fat Joe took out a loan through Sun Trust Bank for $250,000 on the property. On January 20, 2010, the bank sued him and won. Now the home is listed for sale at $2 million.
On August 14, 2008, the state of New Jersey filed a tax lien against him and Terror Squad Productions Inc., in the amount of $105,000. The IRS filed a lien against Fat Joe on February 2 of this year, for $31,987. On March 18, the state of New Jersey filed a $2,200 tax lien against him and his Terror Squad production company.