Judge Orders R. Kelly’s Prison Cash Seized to Pay for His Crimes

Sex predator Kelly’s $27,828 is being confiscated to pay court fines and to support a fund for victims of sex trafficking

Serial predator R. Kelly, who was sentenced to 30 years this June on sex trafficking charges, managed to stuff almost $28,000 into a fat prison account, which doesn’t quite add up since the convict also owes $40,000 to a fund for his victims, and $140,000 in court fees.

Well, U.S. District Court Judge Ann M. Donnelly made short work of that conundrum Friday when she ordered the Bureau of Prisons to send a check for $27,828.24 to the federal court in New York, where Kelly was convicted, to pay back some of his “court-ordered restitution,” the Washington Post reports. He is currently on trial in Chicago for additional charges.

Kelly previously “fought to hold on to the money after The Washington Post reported last month that he was keeping thousands of dollars in the Bureau of Prisons account while owing $140,000 in court-ordered fines, including a $40,000 penalty for a fund for trafficking victims.” Shortly after this information was brought to light, prosecutors took action to take Kelly’s prison riches.

This incident comes amid debate regarding what should be done with prisoners’ personal money.

The Bureau of Prisons has argued for years that inmates should be required to pay only a minimum of $25 every three months toward any court-ordered victim restitution, regardless how money they have stored in their prison accounts.

The bureau recently argued that inmates should have to forfeit no more than 25 percent of their prison loot, because further belt-tightening among the prisoners could threaten jobs or safety inside federal prisons, the Post reports, citing sources “familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations.”

Other Justice Department officials have countered that inmates should not be allowed to hang onto three-quarters of their money despite court-ordered judgments. Under the 25 percent limit, for example, Kelly would have to turn over about $7,000 from his prison account, keeping about $21,000.

Prosecutors won another guilty verdict against Kelly last September when a jury found him guilty on nine counts including racketeering, sex crimes, human trafficking, obstruction of justice, and kidnapping.

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