Rapper and Fyre Festival Co-Founder Ja Rule Reportedly in Tax Trouble - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine Summer 2019 Issue

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.