Rapper Ja Rule Pleads Guilty To Tax Evasion

Ja Rule to Begin Two-Year Prison Sentence in June

Rapper Ja Rule pleaded guilty on Tuesday (March 22) to failing to file tax returns and promised to pay more than $1 million in back taxes and penalties, the New Jersey District Attorney's Office said.

Ja Rule to Begin Two-Year Prison Sentence in June

Ja Rule, whose original name is Jeffrey Atkins, 35, pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to three counts of failing to file a tax return, from 2004 through 2008, even though he was making money from royalties and live tours.

The Grammy-nominated rapper and New Jersey resident agreed to pay the government more than $1.1 million in tax debts, plus penalties imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, according to federal prosecutors.

"Each of us must pay our fair share to keep this country going," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement.

U.S. federal judge Patty Shwartz set bail at $500,000 and permitted Atkins' release pending sentencing scheduled for June 13. He faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison on each count.

In December, Atkins was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to a weapons possession charge stemming from a 2007 incident in which he was pulled over by police who discovered a semi-automatic handgun hidden in his luxury car.

He has appeared in several films, most notably "The Fast and the Furious" and "Scary Movie 3".

COPYRIGHT: (c) Reuters 2011. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.