Irv "Gotti" Lorenzo, CEO of rap label the Inc., surrendered to the FBI today in New York City after being charged with laundering drug money. Gotti's brother Christopher also turned himself in. Imprisoned Queens crack dealer Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, a longtime associate of Gotti and the Inc., was charged with murder and racketeering. The Inc. is the home of rapper Ja Rule and R&B diva Ashanti.
According to the charges, the Inc. was part of a crack and heroin business run by McGriff and sustained by strategic street assassinations. Witnesses have told authorities that McGriff had confessed to the 2001 killing of rapper E-Money Bags, and he is a suspect in the shooting of a possible informant one month later. McGriff, a founder of the "Supreme Team" drug gang currently in prison on a gun charge, finished serving nine years for drug conspiracy in 1997. The Inc. was founded under the name Murder Inc. that same year.
In November, both the label's bookkeeper and Ja Rule's manager were indicted on charges of laundering more than $1 million, and for the past year there have been persistent rumors of pending charges against Gotti himself.
Gotti, his brother and McGriff are charged with laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars through the label, but Gotti's lawyer has stated that the Inc. is financed through cash from Island Def Jam. Authorities are currently preparing to seize all the label's assets.
The Inc. has sold a combined total of 20 million albums between Ja Rule and Ashanti. Ashanti is currently making her acting debut in the Samuel L. Jackson vehicle Coach Carter, while Ja Rule's latest record, R.U.L.E., peaked at Number Seven on the charts.
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