On June 29 R&B trailblazer R.Kelly was sentenced to 30 years for sex trafficking. The case has drawn out for years and now the once high-flying singer is crying broke.
He was convicted in 2021 on federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges. During sentencing, Kelly’s lawyers asked the court for 10 or fewer years. They said they will appeal, CNN reported.
Prior to the sentencing, the lawyers have sent a letter to the court stating that not only is Kelly, 55, ill due to diabetes, but that his wealth is gone due to Kelly being “repeatedly defrauded and financially abused.”
The lawyers wrote Kelly once had a $900 million fortune — and lost it all. “[Kelly’s] literacy deficiencies have led to chronic victimization in adulthood. [Kelly] has been financially exploited his entire adult life. At one point in his career, he was told he was worth $900 million; he is now destitute.”
Not only has Kelly seen his fortune dwindle, he is now deep in debt.
R. Kelly has an estimated net worth currently of negative $2 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
When R. Kelly was arrested in February 2019, his lawyers tried to prove he wasn’t a flight risk by filing legal documents showing that the singer owed $1.8 million to the IRS, TMZ reported.
At the time, one of his lawyers, Steve Greenberg, requested the singer’s $1 million bond to be reduced, telling a judge that Kelly’s “finances are a mess.”
“And through mismanagement, through hangers-on, and bad contracts, and bad deals, and bad leases like he had in his studio. He really doesn’t have any money at this point.”
R. Kelly was one of the most successful recording artists of his era. “Throughout his singing career, R. Kelly amassed 35 Top 10 hit singles. Of those 35, 11 of them went to #1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts. In the decade of the ’90s, R. Kelly had more Top 40 hits than any other male solo artist,” entertainment magazine Giant Freakin Robot reported.
“[Kelly is widely accepted as a musical genius with a rags-to-riches story. He is considered the greatest living R & B singer and has earned multiple Grammy awards. He has written and produced music for celebrated artists like Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Notwithstanding his legendary status, Robert Kelly is a man with a rich and complicated story that is highly relevant to this Court’s goal of fashioning an appropriate sentence for him,” his lawyer wrote in the letter to the court.