Ja Rule may be in tax trouble once again. The rapper and Fyre Festival co-founder, born as Jeffrey Atkins, reportedly owes the IRS more than $ 2 million in back federal taxes on liens over the course of a decade. According to an exclusive report from Bossip, public documents show that the IRS issued a lien for $ 443,442 for back taxes from income that the hip-hop star earned in 2016. A separate lien issued on March 4 shows that he also owes back taxes from 2005 through 2008, bringing his total amount owed to a whopping $ 2,031,753. His wife, Aisha, is also named on the liens obtained by Bossip.
The 43-year-old rapper was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison back in 2011 for tax evasion after admitting that he did not file taxes on more than $ 1.1 million in income over a period of five years, reported CNN.
From 2004 through 2008, Atkins received royalties from ASJA Inc. and performance income from Rule Tours Inc., but failed to file returns that would have mandated he pay the government $ 1,137,912, the release said. Though he pleaded guilty to charges related only to the first three years, he will pay back taxes and penalties for all five.
Atkins served the prison term concurrently with a sentence for gun possession. At the time, he said one of his biggest regrets was being separated from his children. “I’ve got three kids,” he said. “If there was anything that I regret, I regret that they have to go through this with me, and I’m not going to be there for them.”
In 2017, Atkins teamed up with notorious serial entrepreneur Billy McFarland to create the Fyre Festival, which was marketed as a luxurious music fest and beach getaway on a private island but turned out to be a complete sham. The highly-anticipated and expensive event was advertised by social media influencers like Kendall Jenner as an immersive art and musical experience. However, attendees paid up to $ 12,000 a ticket for cheese sandwiches and were forced to sleep in tents.
Although Atkins had not responded to the liens by April 15, he shared photos on Instagram of himself and his wife celebrating their 18-year anniversary in Thailand.
EHL Funding sued Billy McFarland and Ja Rule over the $ 3 million they loaned to the pair in the weeks leading up to Fyre Festival, and they’ve won a default judgment because McFarland reportedly never responded to the lawsuit. Considering he’s currently serving a six year sentence for wire fraud, however, it’s not completely surprising. The judge has ordered McFarland to give EHL back $ 2,891,600 and 30 percent interest. This fine doesn’t include EHL’s attorney fees, which McFarland will also need to pay.
Ja Rule, on the other hand, is getting off easy. The judge involved in the case did not order him to pay back any of the money, instead placing the blame squarely on McFarland. Speaking with TMZ about the lawsuit, he responded, “this is FAKE NEWS GUYS LOL.” Since he responded to the lawsuit, it’s unclear if he will be hit with any fines in the future.
Ever since the documentaries premiered on their respective streaming services, Ja Rule has defended his actions and has maintained that he never intended to harm anyone. “I had an amazing vision to create a festival like NO OTHER!!! I would NEVER SCAM or FRAUD anyone what sense does that make???,” he tweeted. He recently allowed fans to curse him out during a New Jersey concert, encouraging the audience to yell back, “Fuck Ja Rule.”
Who do you think he’ll scam to come up with that much money?
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Over the weekend, social media exploded with the Fyre Festival. Not because there was a new one planned but because of the two documentaries, on Hulu and Netflix respectively released on January 14 and January 18th. Fyre Fraud on Netflix and Fyre Festival: The Greatest Party That Never Was show different sides of the fallout from the 2017 festival created by rapper Jah Rule and serial entrepreneur William “Billy” McFarland.
Here are five reasons you should watch. (A picture is painted of the shenanigans that took place in each documentary but for the purposes of this story we are referencing the Netflix doc.
1.THE AUDACITY OF CAUCASITY:
William ‘Billy” McFarland is a scammer and a criminal mastermind. He is also now a convicted felon though six years seems too little for a man who ran multiple scams of which the Frye Festival was the largest.And all by 25 years old, mind you. The New Jersey native, raised by parents that are real estate developers, first ran a company called Magnesis that produced and provided access to luxury events.
Through the connections he made there, McFarland creates an artist booking app and hooks up with rapper Jah Rule to conceive a luxury music festival on a private island in the Bahamas. Without ruining it for you, McFarland uses a shoot with top models and social media influencers to advertise the festival which sells out. With $ 27 M in hand, McFarland soon either finds himself in over his head, or he knows from the beginning he can’t pull it off, because one of the doc’s unanswered questions is if the money wasn’t used for booking acts for festival infrastructure, where did it go?
2. FOLLOW THE RULE
Rapper Jah Rule was the festival’s hype man and McFarland’s partner, who seems largely to have been used as celebrity bait. Somehow, even though the festival was geared to millennials, Rule had just enough star power to make it legit. But by the time the festival came to its inevitable downfall, you’re not sure how much he knew or didn’t know, especially as it seems he never actually makes it to the island on the day of the festival. After the docs aired, Rule born, Jeffrey Atkins says that he, too was hoodwinked, but there’s a scene in the doc that suggests once he knew the extent of the Fyre Festival deception, he was more interested in spinning it than making the situation right.
Haha nice try homie you ain’t getting the goods over Twitter… but I will tell my truth real soon… AND I HAVE RECEIPTS!!! https://t.co/O03JD3VQOl
Had McFarland chosen to use his powers for good, The Fyre Festival could have been a huge success. Like many scammers, McFarland’s greatest talent was to convince a lot of people that nothing was something. A marketing video shot on the private island where the festival was initially supposed to take place on with top models/influencers Chanel Iman, Emily Ratajkowski, Hailey Baldwin Bieber, Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid went viral. Those models have now been subpoenaed about their participation for the bankruptcy case arising from the failed festival.
McFarland also reportedly paid influencer Jenner $ 250K for the orange square post that when simultaneously posted by an army of influencers also went viral and created demand for tickets, despite the fact that the advertised acts would have barely sold out a day at Made In America or any other U.S. festival.
4.FOMO IS REAL
FOMO, the condition known as “Fear Of Missing Out” was apparently the impetus for thousands to sell out the festival days after it was advertised. That was one of the things that may have made McFarland decide that the stress of actually putting on a festival and the work and money it required would have been too hard, when just keeping the money would be easier. Once the marketing effort was over with, the doc is a descent into chaos that seems very clearly was never going to be pulled off. Aside from the questions of funding, organization and infrastructure, there was also just plain bad juju that hovered over the festival in its planning stages. Despite the young talent McFarland amassed to build the artist booking app that was to become and integral part of Fyre Media pre-and post festival, they were mostly wasted as the festival, the app and the company were all casualties of the mess he created.
5. WHAT PEOPLE DO FOR WATER
Event producer Andy King will go down in documentary history as the individual most willing to take one for the team. His testimony about what happened when the Bahamian government denied festival organizer access to four trucks filled with Evian water became meme and social media gold after the doc aired. We won’t spoil it for you here but let’s just say, if you had to pull off a near impossible event with little resources and an egomaniacal con man at the helm, he’s the guy you want.