Thousands of dollars in singer-sex offender R. Kelly’s prison inmate account have been placed on hold after he failed to pay court-ordered fines.
In a letter submitted on Thursday, prosecutors wrote that the Bureau of Prisons informed them that “the defendant had accumulated substantial funds in his inmate trust account,” Bloomberg reports. The trust account is used to buy food and other items at the prison’s commissary.
Kelly apparently had $28,328.24 in his account at the time of the filing, but the Bureau of Prisons has limited his access to $500 of those funds this week.
Prosecutors claim that Kelly neglected to pay $140,000 in court-ordered fines in his case and wish to use the commissary balance to pay those down.
Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean claims that the prison acted inappropriately.
“After seizing his funds, [the government] decided to file a motion to confiscate his trust account money,” she tweeted on Thursday. “You’re supposed to do that BEFORE you take the money.”
She claimed in an e-mail to the government that the funds were confiscated by the prison "with no notice to him and without any court order." She said that it was not the first time that a prison employee "unlawfully accessed" her client’s account and personal information.
Kelly, 55, was sentenced in June to 30 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping, racketeering and sex trafficking. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly also ordered Kelly to pay a $100,000 fine, a $900 special assessment, and $40,000 assessment under the Justice for Trafficking Victims Act, Law&Crime reported.
Throughout Kelly’s trial, prosecutors detailed how Kelly had sexually abused numerous young women and men — some of whom were underage — over a nearly two-decade period. Furthermore, they said he'd led an enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees who recruited the victims for him while giving them false hope that Kelly would help them with their entertainment careers.
The singer also faces separate state sex crimes trials in Illinois and Minnesota and has pleaded not guilty in those cases. He is due back in Chicago on Aug. 15. Kelly had faced child pornography charges in Chicago in 2002, but was ultimately acquitted in 2008.