Murder Inc. CEO
Irv "Gotti" Lorenzo and his brother Christopher pleaded not guilty
to money laundering charges levied at him and other associates in a 37-page
indictment that was unsealed yesterday (Jan. 26).
50 Cent, arch-nemesis
of Ja Rule and Gotti spoke about the arrest.
In a departure from his standard venom, 50 Cent spoke candidly about his Queens,
New York rivals.
think it's sad [about] Irv Gotti's situation," 50 Cent told AllHipHop.com.
"He's the guy who allowed his blessings to turn into something negative.
After establishing himself in the music business, he tried to become something
he never had the heart to be in his neighborhood. That's where "Gotti'
came from. He was DJ Irv ahead of that. Anybody that's in the street is trying
to get out. You can't blame anyone but Irv."
Lorenzo and his
brother Christopher are accused of helping reputed drug dealer Kenneth "Supreme"
McGriff launder millions of dollars in drug money through Gotti's Murder Inc.
record label [later rechristened The Inc], home to such stars as Ja Rule and
McGriff was also
charged yesterday with the 2001 revenge slaying of Queen's rapper Eric "E-Money
Bags" Smith. On Wednesday, the Lorenzo brothers surrenedered to the FBI
and were released on $1 million dollars bond each.
50 Cent's G-Unit
and Ja Rule and The Inc. have been involved in a bitter rivalry for years. The
cause of the beef has many theories, but none have been fully substantiated.
Some believe that McGriff was responsible for the murder of 50 Cent's mother,
whom allegedly worked for McGriff's Supreme Team drug gang in
the 80's and was caught stealing.
50 Cent himself denied any truth in that rumor.
Other's say McGriff
was the conspirator behind the 2000 shooting that left 50 Cent with nine bullets
and inadvertently launched his multi-platinum career. 50 Cent himself has raised
this theory in songs and interviews.
In 1999, Ja Rule
and 50 Cent were involved in a physical confrontation in Atlanta and 50 was
allegedly stabbed by members of Murder Inc., a year later inside a Manhattan
recording studio. 50 Cent brushed off the wound in published interviews, yet the wound required 3 stitches.
are taking matters extremely serious and have labeled The Inc. a violent, criminal
organization, a brand Irv Gotti has vehemently denied.
They are currently
seeking to freeze the assets of MI Records Inc., IG Records Inc. and six properties
and cooperative apartments located in New York and New Jersey worth several
Ja Rule's current
album R.U.L.E. spawned a massive hit, "New York, New York"
and the label has sold a total of 20 million records.
Still Lorenzo vehemently
denied any wrong doing yesterday as he left court.
"I grew up
poor from the streets so I have friends," Lorenzo said. "No way, in
any way, shape or form have I done anything wrong, except make great music that
the people seem to love, and that's all that I'm guilty of."
Lorenzo's claim and alleged that McGriff's drug money was deposited into bank
accounts controlled by the Lorenzo brothers.
Murder Inc. book keeper Cynthia Brent, who was indicted last month, helped hide
the cash by breaking deposits down into amounts of less than $10,000 to avoid
filing mandatory Currency Transaction Reports for cash transactions in excess
"We will not
tolerate violent drug organizations and those who help them prosper by laundering
their illicit proceeds," said United States Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf.
New York City Police
Commissioner Raymond Kelly stated that McGriff and company were a "triple
threat to the movies and music world: drugs, money laundering and murder."
If convicted, the
defendants face the following maximum sentences:
Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, Dennis Crosby and Nicole Brown â€“
life imprisonment or the death penalty, based on their participation in the
murder of Eric "E-Money Bags" Smith.
Victor Wright â€“
life imprisonment or the death penalty, based on his participation in a double
homicide in Owings Mills, Maryland.
â€“ life imprisonment for drug trafficking
Christopher Lorenzo, Ronald Robinson (Ja Rule's manager), Cynthia Brent (Murder
Inc. bookkeeper) â€“ 20 years incarceration for money laundering
and a fine of $250,000 each.