November 18, 2004 08:00 AM

Rap music label Murder Inc. tried to clean up its image earlier this year when the label changed its name to The Inc. But that name change hasn’t erased the company’s reputation, as evidenced by the arrest of rapper Ja Rule’s manager on Wednesday.

Ron “Gutta” Robinson was arraigned and charged with money laundering in a federal court in New York on Wednesday. The 29-year-old rep for Ja Rule was released on $500,000 bond, the Associated Press reports.

Robinson is accused of conspiring to launder more than $1 million over a five-year period, beginning in 1997.

The arrest stems from an investigation into the relationship between Murder Inc. and suspected drug dealers. Federal investigators are looking into whether Robinson and others used the record label, which features artists such as Ja Rule and Ashanti, to filter drug money. According to the indictment, Robinson allegedly “knew and believed that some of the laundered funds were the proceeds of a controlled substance.”

The label changed its name this year when it was linked to a drug dealer, Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, who federal investigators say was connected to several drug-related murders. However, McGriff, who is currently serving time on another charge, and Inc. head Irv Gotti, deny the allegations.

Stacey Richman, an attorney for Robinson, said her client would fight the money laundering charges.

You May Like