After an investigation of money-laundering allegations and his relationship with a convicted narcotics trafficker, Irv Gotti is about to face federal charges of tax evasion, according to a report in The New York Post.
Citing law-enforcement sources, the Post reported Wednesday (April 28) that Gotti, CEO of the Inc. record label (formerly Murder Inc.), is about to be indicted on charges involving million-dollar tax-evasion schemes, and that other charges were expected to follow against the rap mogul and his associate, convicted drug lord Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff. Gotti, whose real name is Irving Lorenzo, and McGriff have been the subjects of a far-reaching federal probe into their involvement in money laundering and, in McGriff's case, narcotics trafficking and multiple homicides in Maryland and New York, including the murder of rapper D.O. Cannon, best known for his contribution to Ashanti's remix of "I'm So Happy."
For the past two years, investigators have been trying to determine whether drug proceeds were funneled into Murder Inc., allegations that came to the surface in January 2003, when Gotti's label offices and recording studio were raided by New York City police officers and federal agents (see "Murder Inc.'s 'Crackhouse' Studio Also Raided"). Dexter Ottley, Murder Inc.'s director of radio promotion, was later charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, while two associates of McGriff, Jon Ragin and Derek Hayes, cut plea deals on fraud, money laundering and related charges (see "Two Men Arrested During Murder Inc. Raid Cut Plea Deals").
The former leader of a Queens, New York, drug cartel known as the Supreme Team, McGriff was released in 1997 after serving 10 years in federal prison on narcotics-conspiracy charges. He is currently serving a three-year sentence after pleading guilty last April to charges of illegal weapons possession by a felon (see "Drugs, Friends & Allegations: Inside The Murder Inc. Raid").
The Post also referred to Gotti's brother, the Inc. President Chris Lorenzo, as part of the investigation.
"Irv and Chris are good people," Gotti's lawyer, Gerald Lefcourt, told MTV News on Wednesday. "They come from a good, intact family, where nearly everyone went to college. They're not criminals. They're hardworking people in the record business. And the money used to start up Murder Inc. came from [parent companies] Universal and Def Jam, not drugs."
McGriff's lawyer was unavailable for comment.
The Inc., Def Jam, the U.S. attorney's office, and the Internal Revenue Service declined to comment on the investigation.