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Three sons of sugar hill records founders admit failing to file income tax returns resulting in $1.28m tax loss

March 29, 2012


NEWARK, N.J. – Three sons of the founders of the Sugar Hill Records hip-hop recording label today admitted failing to file federal tax returns for several years, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Joseph Robinson Jr., a.k.a. “Joseph Robinson,” 50, of Tenafly, N.J., Leland Robinson, 46, of Englewood, N.J., and Rhondo Robinson, 41, of Englewood, N.J., each pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk to a four-count Information, which charged them with failing to file a tax return in tax years 2005 through 2008.

Joseph Robinson pleaded guilty to Counts One and Two of the Information for his failure to file his taxes in 2005 and 2006. Leland Robinson pleaded guilty to Counts Two and Three of the Information, for his failure to file his taxes in 2006 and 2007. Rhondo Robinson pleaded guilty to Counts One and Three of the Information, for his failure to file his taxes in 2005 and 2007. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the tax loss for all four years will be taken into account at sentencing.

According to the plea agreements with the three defendants, the total tax loss to the government for the four tax years is $1,289,408.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Joseph, Leland, and Rhondo received income primarily from royalties from Sugar Hill Records, the music label created by their parents in 1979, and revenue in connection with their work as copyright administrators for various musical recording artists. From 1979 until 1986, Sugar Hill Records amassed an extensive catalogue of songs and released several hip-hop and rap albums, including the self-titled debut album by the Sugar Hill Gang, which included the popular hit Rapper’s Delight, as well as albums by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and the Treacherous Three.

Each of the defendants faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a fine of $200,000, together with the costs of prosecution. Each of the defendants has agreed to file true and accurate tax returns and to pay to the IRS all taxes and penalties owed. Sentencing is scheduled for July 10, 2012.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents with IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge JoAnn S. Zuniga, in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty pleas.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Mack of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division.


Defense counsel:
Joseph Robinson Jr.: Henry Klingeman Esq., Newark
Leland Robinson: Richard Sapinski Esq., Newark
Rhondo Robinson: Frank Agostino Esq., Hackensack, N.J.

Robinson, Joseph Information
Robinson, Leland Information

Robinson, Rhondo Information

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