Criminal Justice

Rap mogul's ex-lawyer arrested for allegedly depositing a stolen tax refund check worth over $1M

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A Los Angeles lawyer who once represented rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight was arrested Monday for allegedly depositing a stolen tax refund check for more than $1 million.

Thaddeus Julian Culpepper, 44, was charged with bank fraud in a criminal complaint, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times, KABC and My News LA have stories.

Culpepper is accused of personally depositing the seven-figure check in August 2017 into a client trust account at a Wells Fargo branch in Pasadena, California. It is one of 21 stolen tax refund checks worth more than $1.3 million that Culpepper allegedly deposited into several client trust accounts, according to an affidavit supporting the criminal complaint.

Culpepper allegedly told a bank representative that the people listed as payees on the $1,003,814 check were clients who had endorsed the checks to him. The payees, however, said they don’t know Culpepper, the affidavit says.

Investigators believe the 21 checks were stolen from the mail, though Culpepper is not accused in the thefts.

Culpepper had represented Knight before the rap mogul pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for running over and killing a Compton, California, businessman in a hit-and-run, according to coverage by the Hollywood Reporter and Reuters.

Culpepper is already awaiting trial on conspiracy charges for allegedly trying to pay a witness for favorable testimony in Knight’s case, the Los Angeles Times previously reported.

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