More than $500,000 of R. Kelly’s royalties garnished to pay sex trafficking victims

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NEW YORK — More than $500,000 in royalties earned by R. Kelly will be garnished to pay victims of his sex trafficking scheme, a Brooklyn judge ruled this week.

Universal Music Group has held the money since Kelly was charged with several sex trafficking and child pornography crimes in New York and Chicago. UMG must pay $520,549, according to Billboard.

Federal prosecutors had initially targeted UMG and Sony Music Entertainment for the garnishment. However, Universal held $567,444, enough to cover the entire debt, so Sony was dropped from the claim.

Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, has appealed his convictions and told Billboard the team of lawyers “will seek the return of every cent that has been wrongfully taken from him.”

R. Kelly was convicted in Brooklyn Federal Court in September 2021 of running a decadeslong sex trafficking scheme that targeted his young fans, both male and female, some of whom were underage.

Nine months later, Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison and fined around $500,000. While law enforcement officers hauled him behind bars, Kelly never produced the money. In court filings, his lawyers said he was broke.

Though Judge Ann Donnelly approved the garnishment on Wednesday, it will likely not be the last battle over Kelly’s money.

The “Ignition” artist, 56, was successfully sued by one of his victims in civil court, and the judge awarded the victim $4 million — which has also not yet been paid.

Additionally, a landlord who owned Kelly’s music studio in Chicago is seeking $3.5 million in unpaid rent. And Kelly was fined $42,000 after he was convicted separately in Chicago of enticing minors for sex and child pornography.