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R. Kelly’s Royalties Seized for $500K as Restitution to Victims

Universal Music Group has paid $506,950.26 in restitution to R. Kelly’s victims, marking a significant step toward addressing the aftermath of his convictions.

R. Kelly pleads not guilty to a new indictment before Judge Lawrence Flood at Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago on June 6, 2019. (Photo by E. Jason Wambsgans / POOL / AFP)

Regardless of the R&B sensation’s prison sentences – a 30-year conviction in New York and a 20-year conviction from Chicago, with 19 of those to be concurrent – UMG has moved to garnish royalties from his classic songs to compensate the victims. The figure equates to the remaining balance, as of Aug. 15, on Kelly’s restitution bill.

Restitution or Else

On Aug. 23, U.S. District Court judge Ann Donnelly, Eastern district of New York, instructed UMG to cover the outstanding restitution and fines owed by Kelly, in addition to the $28,000 he already has surrendered from his inmate account for fines, Bloomberg reported.

Before the more than half-million-dollar restitution, he had only paid $28,000 of the $504,549 he owes to his victims following his 2021 conviction for sex trafficking. Brooklyn’s federal prosecutors took action to seize Kelly’s earnings from Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Publishing Group.

The Messenger reported that Judge Donnelly has issued a court order directing Universal Music Publishing to pay a restitution debt of $520,549.90, along with interest, to the court within a span of 10 days.

If so, R. Kelly would receive less than $40,000 from UMG’s royalties.

The document reads as follows: “The Defendant was properly served with the [order] and notified of his right to a hearing or to file a claim for exemption, but has not requested a hearing, claimed an exemption, or otherwise contested the garnishment proceeding, and the statutory time to do so has expired.”

Although R. Kelly’s older music still earns income, his recent releases have not achieved the same level of success. In December 2022, new music was briefly leaked, but was later removed. Furthermore, his record label dropped him in 2020 due to then-pending charges against him.

In 2022, Kelly was fined and sentenced in New York to 30 years in prison for racketeering and sex trafficking. He also received a 20-year sentence for three counts of child pornography and three counts of child enticement in Chicago, following a conviction by a federal jury.

Currently, he is incarcerated in a federal prison located in Butner, North Carolina, and it’s unclear who makes up his legal representation.

If R. Kelly, whose net worth reportedly is a negative $2 million, had not faced legal issues, he may have had a net worth of over $100 million, as estimated by The International Business Times.

Drama over His Inmate Account

His legal team tried to make it so he has money while in prison and argued against federal prosecutors seizing his inmate account, claiming that the government had not demonstrated R. Kelly’s failures to pay fines and restitution.

However, the judge dismissed this argument and froze most of R. Kelly’s prison account, leaving him with only $500.

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