"I accept responsibility; I'm not copping out or saying that it wasn't my fault," the Don Cartagena told MTV News on Monday in New York.
The rap star pleaded guilty to failure to file federal income taxes on approximately $1 million in income from 2007 to 2008 last December and points to a faulty accountant, whom he said mishandled his monetary affairs. Joe said the first red flag came when he went to lease a car, but instead found out his mortgages and various bills weren't paid.
"My credit was just incredible; I could've got the whole building on credit," Joe said, admitting he assumed that his money man was properly handling his bills. "I'm wiring him money to pay for all my mortgages, cars, my taxes."
The Bronx, New York MC says he called his then-accountant while he was still at the dealership and though the bills were unpaid, the accountant had enough cash on hand to rectify the situation in 24 hours. "Immediately I was like this is a Ponzi scheme," he said.
"I went and got a new accountant the next day and we realized that he ain't file my taxes." Fat Joe said it was he and his new accountant who alerted the government of his unfiled taxes and contends that he immediately worked to pay the money back. He owed close to $800,000, he estimated. "The IRS came and knocked on my door like, 'Yo, we got a problem.' But we contacted them. We were going to pay it off without them knocking on the door," he recalled. "It was a lot of money and I ain't Puff Daddy."
Despite all of his efforts to make good, the "Make It Rain" rapper has to serve time for his financial transgressions. "I did whatever I had to do to pay them back, all the good people wrote letters for me, all the charities, my lawyer was great and they still felt like I was supposed to do something," he said. "So here we are, I tried to avoid it, I tried to do the right thing, I tried to pay it back, but it is what it is."