Irv Gotti arrested on money-laundering charges -- FBI alleges hip-hop mogul was part of violent crack and heroin ring

By Michael Slezak
Updated January 26, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

Hip-hop label Murder Inc. may have pared down its moniker to The Inc. last year, but if federal investigators are right, maybe the original name should have been expanded — to include money-laundering, drug-dealing and witness-intimidation.

The FBI arrested label head Irv ”Gotti” Lorenzo, his brother Christopher and six other individuals on money-laundering charges, alleging that their activities were part of a violent narcotics ring that stretched from New York to North Carolina, according to an Associated Press report. Prosecutors, hoping to strip Gotti of his assets, unsealed their indictment today. They also charged the ring’s alleged kingpin, Kenneth ”Supreme” McGriff, a longtime Gotti pal who is currently serving time for a gun offense, with murdering three associates he feared were disloyal, as well as racketeering and witness intimidation.

Prosecutors said the ring laundered more than $1 million through The Inc., but added that the charges did not involve any of the label’s artists, who include Ja Rule and Ashanti. (The Inc. is partly owned by Def Jam, a subsidiary of Universal Music.)

Gerald Lefcourt, an attorney for the Gottis, told the AP that the brothers’ music enterprise is ”a perfectly legitimate operation,” adding he expected ”Irv and Chris to be vindicated.”