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Hip-Hop News: Feds Set to Indict Irv Gotti
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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
4/28/2004 8:43:34 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Irv Gotti.

Federal prosecutors are set to indict hip-hop impresario Irv (Lorenzo) Gotti - the founder of the powerful Murder Inc. label, who boasts superstar clients like Ja Rule and Ashanti - on tax charges, law-enforcement sources told The Post.

Lorenzo, who changed his name to Gotti in admiration for Gambino family crime boss John Gotti, is expected to soon be hit with charges involving million-dollar tax-evasion schemes, the sources said.

But the charges - expected to be made public in the next few weeks - would be only the tip of the iceberg in the feds' overall case against Gotti and his close pal, notorious imprisoned drug kingpin Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, sources said.

Probers are also looking at:

* As many as nine murders, including several here. Those slayings range from the 1995 execution of a 33-year-old convicted murderer and drug dealer outside a Jamaica, Queens, sports bar, to the 2003 slaying of an up-and-coming rapper who had signed a contract with Murder Inc.

* Whether the nation's largest hip-hop label was launched with proceeds from McGriff's murderous drug empire.

Gotti and McGriff - boyhood chums from Hollis, Queens - as well as Gotti's brother, Christopher, are in the crosshairs of Brooklyn federal prosecutors and agents from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as the IRS.

* Allegations involving at least two New York lawyers who were used to win bail set for a suspected drug courier caught with two kilos in North Carolina in 2001. The courier was assassinated in Maryland along with a cohort just days later.

In a highly unusual step, prosecutors called one of the lawyers in front of a grand jury to testify in the case. The prosecutors wanted to make sure the lawyers had not been aware of the assassination plot.

* A lifelong friend of both Gotti and McGriff, who reportedly once told the feds that he was a strong-arm collector for Murder Inc.

The man - Tyran "Ta-Ta" Moore, the ex-lover of Sandi "Pepa" Denton of the hit group Salt 'N' Pepa - later denied he made the incriminating remark.

In the tax case, the feds are zeroing in on allegations that Murder Inc. failed to report revenues from the sale of concert-related items such as tickets, promotional advertisements, T-shirts, hats and CDs from its wildly successful stable of artists.

Gotti, in his 30s, also allegedly doled out hundreds of thousands of dollars in unreported "salary" and corporate expenses to McGriff, 42, during the time the crack-cocaine czar was freed from jail in the mid 1990s.

McGriff's perks included access to free flights "throughout the country," stays at posh Four Seasons hotels and even a $1,200 limousine ride while he was visiting a cousin in a Texas federal jail, court records show.

Until now, the focus of much of the investigators' scrutiny has been McGriff's symbiotic relationship with Murder Inc.

Court papers allege that the label used McGriff's "muscle" to intimidate competitors, while providing him with cover to launder his drug money and use credit cards and two-way pagers to facilitate his multistate operations.

The court papers claim that McGriff's unrestricted access to Murder Inc.'s office came complete with a set of keys to locked cabinets and drawers.

McGriff served 10 years in federal prison for running one of New York's most violent and lucrative drug rings in the 1980s.

He is now serving a 37-month federal prison stretch after pleading guilty last June to possessing a weapon.

Another probe is looking into what possible role the coke kingpin might have had in the 2001 Maryland executions, which took place outside a drug-stash house.

Investigators suspect that McGriff orchestrated - or carried out - the twin killings because he feared one or both of the victims were contemplating cooperating with the government.

McGriff's fingerprints were found in the stash house, along with out-

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