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Feds Move to Seize R. Kelly’s ‘Substantial’ Inmate Trust Account Because Convicted Sexual Predator Failed to Pay Fines

R. Kelly appears in an Illinois state courtroom in a 2019 file photo.

R. Kelly appears in an Illinois state courtroom in a 2019 file photo.

After learning that the multi-platinum singer and convicted sex predator hasn’t paid his court-imposed fines, prosecutors asked a federal judge on Thursday to turn over the “substantial” funds that they located in R. Kelly’s inmate trust account.

In addition to imposing a 30-year prison term for racketeering and sex trafficking, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly ordered Kelly at his sentencing to pay a $100,000 fine, a $900 special assessment, and $40,000 assessment under the Justice for Trafficking Victims Act. Prosecutors say that Kelly hasn’t paid a dime of that money to date, even though the coffers of his prison account are full for a man who is incarcerated.

“The Government has been informed by the BOP that the Defendant had accumulated substantial funds in his inmate trust account,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Saavedra wrote in a five-page letter.

According to the letter, Kelly had $28,328.24 in that account as of Wednesday, and prosecutors asked the Bureau of Prisons to restrain that money.

Prosecutors say the agency restrained that money on Thursday.

“Further, the BOP has confirmed that it left $500 in the Defendant’s trust account for Defendant’s use in MCC Chicago,” the letter states. “Accordingly, as of this writing, the BOP has restrained a total $27,828.24.”

“The Government now seeks entry of an order authorizing the BOP to turn over the restrained funds for application to the Defendant’s outstanding criminal penalties,” the letter continues.

In a footnote, prosecutors explain why they believe that the money in Kelly’s inmate trust account are not exempt from seizure from those incarcerated in federal prisons.

“For criminal debts such as fines and restitution, federal law provides that the only categories of exempt property are: (1) wearing apparel and school books; (2) fuel, provisions, furniture and personal effects; (3) books and tools of a trade, business or profession; (4) unemployment benefits; (5) undelivered mail; (6) annuity or pension payments under certain, specified federal statutes; (7) workmen’s compensation; (8) judgments for support of minor children; (9) certain service-connected disability payments; and (10) assistance under the Job Training Partnership Act,” the footnote reads.

Kelly also faces a separate trial in Chicago later this month on charges of child pornography production and luring minors into sex acts.

Read the letter here:

(R. Kelly via Antonio Perez – Pool via Getty Images)

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."