Isley Brother Convicted

R&B singer-songwriter Ronald Isley could face 26 years in prison after being convicted of failing to pay more than $3 million in federal income taxes.

Isley, 64, was convicted Monday by a federal jury after three hours of deliberations. The panel found him guilty of five counts of tax evasion and one count of willful failure to file a tax return in 2002.

Isley, who has homes in Los Angeles and St. Louis, pleaded not guilty to the charges last January. Attempts to reach his lawyers on Monday were not successful.

Isley declared bankruptcy in 1997 and only emerged from it four years later, according to the federal indictment.

Prosecutors said that Isley concealed millions of dollars in earnings from 1997 through 2002 by demanding cash payments of some performance fees.

Isley also created shell companies to conceal his income, put homes and a yacht in the names of his then-wife or corporations, and cashed royalty checks belonging to his late brother, O’Kelly Isley, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

During a three-week trial, about 20 witnesses took the stand. They included Isley’s former tour manager, Ruby Martin, who said Isley regularly demanded payment in cash.

Isley could face a maximum of 26 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on January 9th but under federal sentencing guidelines he probably will receive a shorter term.

Isley and his brothers, Rudolph and O’Kelly, had their first hit, “Shout,” in 1959 and went on to record dozens of albums.

Isley’s latest efforts, released last year, were a collaboration with Burt Bacharach titled “Here I Am,” and the Grammy-nominated Isley Brothers CD, “Body Kiss.”

— Associated Press