The man whom federal prosecutors claim laundered money through the Murder Inc. rap label was sentenced Monday in Maryland to 37 months in prison on a federal gun charge.
Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon in April when he was found shooting at a Maryland-based firing range. According to his lawyer, Robert Simels, McGriff's sentence was a result of a negotiated plea.
McGriff has been the target of a wide-ranging federal investigation that alleges the onetime convicted drug lord laundered money through the Murder Inc. rap label, and that he was involved in the 2000 shooting of rap star 50 Cent and a 2001 double-murder outside Baltimore (see "Murder Inc. Probe Leads To Arrest, Alleged Ties To 50 Cent Shooting").
In 1987, McGriff was convicted on drug conspiracy charges. Prosecutors believed he was the head of a drug cartel known as the "Supreme Team" in Queens, New York, and that he ran a crack-selling ring between New York and Baltimore.
In handing down the sentence on Monday, U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz told McGriff, 42, that there was no reason at all for him to be at a firing range. "There is no reason to keep your skills up," he said.
In addition, McGriff could be facing even more federal time if he's convicted of any of the other charges that have been levied against him.
In a 32-page court affidavit filed in January, an IRS special agent detailed evidence that federal investigators and attorneys believe links McGriff to Irving Lorenzo, a.k.a. Irv Gotti, and Murder Inc. They allege McGriff helped Gotti start Murder Inc. with illegal funds gained through the drug trade, and that he was the true owner of the company, not Gotti. Authorities also say McGriff participated in illegal activities using Murder Inc. funds and that the record label, home to stars like Ja Rule and Ashanti, was generally used as a means to launder illegal drug money.
It was that evidence that led authorities to raid the New York offices and studios of Murder Inc. in January, looking to bolster their case against Gotti (see "Murder Inc. Offices Raided By Feds").
In addition, authorities allege McGriff was involved in the 2000 shooting of rap star 50 Cent and the murder of two people, Dwayne Thomas, 31, and Karon Russell Clarrett, 28, at a Baltimore-area apartment complex in 2001. In addition to other key evidence, investigators say they found promotional material for the Murder Inc. film "Crime Partners" at the scene of the shootings. McGriff is listed as an executive producer on the film.
Simels said the allegations paint an "absurd scenario."
"Who knows where that came from or how it got there," said Simels, regarding the specific "Crime Scene" evidence. "It's unlikely [McGriff] would leave a videotape of himself at the scene. One presumes someone had access to that area anytime before the shootings."
In May, feds filed a complaint to seize profits from "Crime Partners" and its soundtrack, further alleging that McGriff used the production to launder funds. Neither the movie, starring Ja Rule and Snoop Dogg, or its soundtrack, have been released.
No charges have yet been filed against Gotti or McGriff with regard to money laundering.