As Death Row Records rivals Puff Daddy and Notorious B.I.G. once put it, “it’s like the more money we come across, the more problems we see.” That line would seem to currently apply to former Marion “Suge” Knight attorney Thaddeus Culpepper, arrested this week on federal bank fraud charges.
The Los Angeles Times reports that a criminal complaint alleges Culpepper deposited a U.S. Treasury check worth $1,003,814 in August 2017 at a Wells Fargo branch in Pasadena. The statement goes on to claim the 44-year-old attorney told a bank rep that the two names on the check were clients of his and they had endorsed the check to him. Investigators say the payees listed on the check do not know Culpepper and never received their tax refunds.
According to an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, that check is one of 21 stolen tax refund checks worth more than $1.3 million that Culpepper deposited into several attorney-client trust accounts. Federal prosecutors say investigators believe the checks were stolen from the mail although a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said Culpepper has not been accused of the thefts. An arraignment has been set for Oct. 19.
Culpepper is also facing charges of conspiracy to bribe potential witnesses and serving as an accessory after the fact to the 2015 murder of Terry Carter. Knight was arrested for that murder after he drove a truck into an eatery, killing Carter and wounding another. The rap mogul claimed self-defense, saying there were armed men at the scene attempting to kill him. Culpepper was kicked off the case earlier this year.
Knight, whose Death Row label was the home of rappers Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur, is expected to be sentenced today to 28 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter in the Terry Carter case.