Fat Joe has filed a lawsuit against his longtime accounting firm and two of its employees, claiming they stole millions of dollars in a fraud that has the “hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme.”
In a complaint filed in Miami court on Tuesday (Sept. 27), the rapper (real name Joseph Cartagena) says that BDO USA, accountant Andre N. Chammas and assistant Vanessa Rodriguez orchestrated a “brazen” scheme to steal money from him.
“The bottom line is that, by executing and reaping the benefits of their money-making scheme, BDO and Chammas have committed malpractice and professional negligence, breached the fiduciary duties they owe to Plaintiffs, misappropriated millions of dollars, defrauded Plaintiffs, and been unjustly enriched,” Fat Joe’s lawyers wrote.
After working with BDO and Chammas for a decade, Fat Joe says he recently noticed “a slew of irregularities and fraudulent activity,” including unpaid bills, revenues that were never deposited into his accounts, payments for credit cards that did not belong to him, and much more.
When he moved to investigate the problem, Fat Joe says BDO “ignored his pleas or made up stories to cover their trail.”
“Rather than cooperate with a longtime client and offer to lend assistance, BDO and Chammas have employed a different strategy: stonewall and delay,” Fat Joe’s lawyers wrote. “Now Plaintiffs know why BDO and Chammas have been trying to obstruct their investigation: Plaintiffs are the target of a fraudulent scheme that BDO and Chammas—with Rodriguez’s assistance—have been orchestrating for years and that has resulted in millions of dollars in damages.”
Other accusations in the lawsuit include that Rodriguez committed identity theft – including a claim that she was “so brazen that she used the ATM located in BDO’s building to obtain cash advances from the cards and used the cards to pay her child’s school tuition.”
A spokeswoman for BDO USA did not immediately return a request for comment from the company and its employees. Chammas and Rodriguez could not immediately be located individually.