Federal Prosecutors Move to Garnish R. Kelly Royalties From Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment

R Kelly garnish
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R Kelly garnish
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Photo Credit: Tingey Injury Law Firm

New court filings reveal that federal prosecutors have moved to garnish R. Kelly-related royalties from Universal Music Publishing Group and Sony Music Entertainment.

Federal prosecutors have formally moved to seize R. Kelly’s royalties held by Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Publishing Group, saying it will be used to pay victims and fulfill outstanding fines.

Prosecutors in Brooklyn have asked a federal judge for writs of garnishment against the label and publisher — court orders that would compel the two companies to hand over funds tied to Kelly’s music — two years after winning a jury verdict convicting the disgraced singer of sex trafficking and racketeering.

Federal prosecutors argue that Sony Music and Universal Music Publishing are believed to be “in possession of property” belonging to Kelly that could be used to pay more than $500,000 that he owes in victim restitution and criminal fines.

While it’s unclear how much of Kelly’s funds the two companies hold, a court ruling in March disclosed that Kelly’s royalty account with Sony held $1,544,333 in 2020.

Following his sentence last summer to 30 years in prison on sex trafficking and racketeering charges, Kelly was ordered to pay more than $480,000 in fines and restitution. Another $42,000 was tacked on in February on separate child pornography convictions.

These filings are the latest efforts to collect on judgements ruled last summer (for sex trafficking and racketeering in New York) and in February (for child pornography convictions in Illinois). Last fall, prosecutors confiscated nearly $30,000 in Kelly’s prison commissary account.

In a statement released on June 1, Kelly’s lead attorney Jennifer Bonjean told Billboard that she and her client believe the restitution order against him is incorrect and will be overturned on appeal. Nevertheless, Bonjean also said she and her client have “no opinion” on prosecutors seeking to garnish funds held by Sony Music and Universal Music Publishing Group.