Gladys Knight's son gets PRISON after he withheld payroll taxes

Son of R&B singer Gladys Knight is sentenced to two years in prison for failing to withhold $1 million in payroll taxes for the restaurants that bore his mother’s name

  • Glady Knight’s son Shanga Hankerson, 45, was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday after he failed to withhold payroll taxes for his restaurants
  • Hankerson owned and operated four locations of Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles in Georgia and Washington DC
  • He had failed to remit more than $1 million in payroll taxes between 2012 and 2016
  • He was sentenced this month after he had pleaded guilty to the charges on July 21
  • Hankerson was also ordered to serve a year of supervised release following his prison sentence and to pay more than $1 million in restitution

The son of legendary R&B singer Gladys Knight has been sentenced to two years in prison after he failed to withhold payroll taxes for his restaurants.

Knight’s son Shanga Hankerson, 45, had owned four locations of Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles in Georgia and Washington DC. 

Hankerson, the sole owner of the business, had failed to remit more than $1 million in payroll taxes between 2012 and 2016.

He had pleaded guilty to charges on July 21 and was given a two-year prison sentence on Wednesday.

R&B singer Gladys Knight’s son Shanga Hankerson, 45, was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday after he failed to withhold payroll taxes on Wednesday

Hankerson had named the restaurant after his mother Gladys Knight

Hankerson, who owned four locations in Georgia and Washington DC, failed to remit more than $1 million in payroll taxes between 2012 and 2016

Hankerson had opened the first location of the restaurant in Atlanta in 1997 before opening the three others over the course of the next several years.

As part of his ownership, he was required to withhold payroll taxes from his employees’ gross pay.

‘Hankerson willfully disregarded his tax obligations for many years,’ U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine said in a news release. 

‘Payroll taxes fund social insurance programs, including Social Security and Medicare, and are a large source of revenue for the federal government. 

‘Employers who fail to comply with their legal obligations will be held accountable.’ 

During his sentencing Wednesday, he was also ordered to serve a year of supervised release following his prison sentence and to pay more than $1 million in restitution.

‘While ownership of a well-known restaurant in our community has its perks, it also comes with great responsibility,’ IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey said in a statement. 

‘Paying taxes is a way to give back to the community, but unfortunately Hankerson chose to use those funds for other means. 

‘This sentencing emphasizes that all employers, big and small, have equal responsibility to collect, report, and pay over their payroll taxes.’

The case is still being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.  

This is not the first legal problem Hankerson faced with the restaurants. 

Knight had won a legal battle against her son in 2017 after she asked to sever ties with the business following theft accusations against her son

Hankerson was ordered to stop using her name, likeness and memorabilia

Knight, 77, had previously asked Hankerson to remove her name from the restaurant after he had been accused of stealing from the business in June 2016.

Knight filed the lawsuit in August 2016 demanding damages for Hankerson’s continued use of her name on the restaurant chain, as well as ‘certain proprietary recipes and memorabilia, including Knight’s dresses/costumes and photographs featuring Knight and other celebrities’.

Hankerson had hit back against his mother as he claimed she lacked the ‘mental capacity to rescind the license agreement’ in court papers.

Her son also attempted to challenge the lawsuit and said that it was a violation of a state court order as she had been paid for the use of her name on the restaurant and could not void the deal.    

He had even demanded the entire lawsuit be thrown out and his mother pay all the court fees.

She won the legal battle to sever ties with her son’s business in 2017.

Her son was ordered to stop using her name, likeness and memorabilia, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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