Rapper Fat Joe, real name Joseph Cartegena, has been sentenced to four months in jail for tax evasion at a federal court in Newark, New Jersey, where the companies he owns are based. Last December (2012), the "Ballin'" emcee plead guilty to not filing returns in 2007 and 2008 for over $1 million in income.
"I did everything I could to achieve what I could, to move my family; I tried to stay positive, focus on the positive, and get myself out," Joe said while apologizing to his family in court. "I guess I'm surprised, caused I worked so hard to not end up in court, that I'm here. This is the last place I thought I would be."
Prior to the guilty plea, Joe was accused of evading taxes on nearly $3 million of income between the years of 2007 and 2010, which totaled $718,038 in tax loss. He struck a deal with prosecutors and got the charges reduced to not filing tax returns for two years only.
The judge also gave Joe credit for his efforts to pay his tax debts prior to his sentencing and for his charity. Around 60 letters on his behalf, including one from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz who cited Joe's computer donations to local schools, were received by court.
Joe must report to prison on August 26. In addition, he was fined $15,000 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy Waldor and sentenced to one year of supervised release.
Fat Joe joins the recently released Ja Rule and the recently sentenced Lauryn Hill as rappers being jailed for tax evasion.