by Charlie Amter
Oct 31, 2005, 4:40 PM PT

These are taxing times indeed for R&B legend Ronald Isley.

A federal jury in Los Angeles on Monday convicted the singer of five counts of tax evasion and one count of willful failure to file a tax return. Isley faces up to 26 years in prison for the tax dodging at his sentencing Jan. 9.

Jurors deliberated for a day and a half before rendering their verdict in the trial, which stretched over three weeks. The panel was apparently swayed by a steady stream of prosecution evidence that included documents showing the “It’s Your Thing” singer hiding homes and a yacht under the name of his former wife and cashing royalty checks belonging to his late brother, O’Kelly Isley.

During the trial, IRS officials said Isley tried to further avoid taxes by asking to be paid in only cash for performances between 1997 and 2002--amounts that added up to around $12 million, per California’s CNS News Service. The IRS also claimed Isley bought personal cars using a business account and paid band members in cash to keep transactions off the books.

The Ohio native was indicted in October 2004. He entered a not guilty plea in January.

Isley, who suffered a minor stroke last summer, remains best known for his smooth vocals that have graced Isley Brothers hits for the better part of 40 years.

The group got its start in 1951 and struck it big with the 1959 single “Shout,” followed by a hit 1962 cover of “Twist and Shout,” the 1965 Motown classic “This Old Heart of Mine” and 1969’s “It’s Your Thing,” before having even greater success in the 1970s. The band helped define the R&B/funk groove of the era with hits like “Who’s That Lady” and “Fight the Power (Part 1)” before moving toward a more disco sound as the decade ended.

In 2003, the Isleys topped the charts with Body Kiss and, later that year, Ron Isley collaborated with Burt Bacharach on the album Here I Am. An Isley Brothers remix album, Taken to the Next Phase, dropped in August 2004.

Posted by CHANNI on 11/01 at 08:48 AM in Justice / Injustice

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