Last December, Rapper Fat Joe – real name Joseph Cartagena – was convicted of tax evasion on nearly $3 million of income from 2007 and 2008. The tax shortfall with penalties comes to more than $1 million, plus a $200,000 fine. Since his conviction, he has been free on bail and making a strong effort to pay off his tax debt.
Unlike many tax deadbeats, Cartagena took full responsibility for failing to pay his taxes. When Judge Cathy Waldor asked the rapper if he understood the charges, he told her",I super-understand it." His attitude may have scored him some leniency, because when Cartagena returned to court on June 24 for sentencing, he was given four months in prison instead of the maximum of two years. He will report to federal prison on August 26, 2013.
Cartagena is the second New Jersey musician to be sentence to prison on tax charges in the past couple of months. In May, Lauryn Hill was also sentenced to prison and will report in July.