As many people begin their year-end tax planning for the 2013 filing season, performer Fat Joe is gearing up for his possible prison stint for federal tax evasion.
The 42-year-old performer, whose real name is Joseph Cartagena, pleaded guilty in a New Jersey courtroom to violating federal tax law by failing to report millions of dollars in income to the Internal Revenue Service in 2007 and 2010. The court documents indicate Cartagena earned about $1.3 million in 2007, $1.4 million in 2008, $320,000 in 2009 and $680,000 in 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Court documents reveal that he owes roughly $718,038 in back taxes in back taxes, which the rapper said he intends to pay before appearing for sentencing in April. He is currently out on $250,000 bail. Fat Joe faces up to two years in prison and $200,000 in fines and prosecutor fees.
Cartagena is best known for his hit singles, "What's Luv" and "Lean Back." His most recent album, "The Darkside Vol. 1," was released in 2010. His attorney says he hopes his client, who is currently cooperating with authorities, will avoid jail time.
However, cooperation does not always translate into reduced jail time, as evidenced by other celebrities who have committed similar crimes. For example, rapper Beanie Sigel was sentenced to two years in prison earlier in the year for failing to file returns between 1999 and 2005, and failing to pay $728,536 in taxable income. Grammy winner Lauryn Hill also pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 2012 in a New Jersey courtroom. The IRS has vamped up its efforts to detect and prosecute tax evaders in an effort to close the federal tax gap.