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Rap Label Bookkeeper Charged in Laundering

New York – The bookkeeper for rap label Murder Inc. was indicted on money laundering charges by federal prosecutors who are probing ties between drug dealers and the recording home of such platinum-selling acts as Ja Rule and Ashanti.

Cynthia Brent, 39, was arrested at her New Jersey home Monday and was charged with laundering drug proceeds and structuring cash deposits to avoid federal reporting requirements. The laundering charges involve more than $1 million in drug money, according to the indictment against her.

Brent pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Monday afternoon and was released on $200,000 bond. Her lawyer declined to comment on the case.

Murder Inc. changed its name to The Inc. earlier this year after executives said the label’s image was hurt by court filings alleging that they had been laundering drug money from a Queens crack dealer, Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff.

Federal officials also have linked McGriff to several drug-related murders, according to court filings. McGriff is serving time on a gun offense but has not been charged with the murders.

A spokeswoman for The Inc. said the company would have no comment on any criminal matter. A spokesman for Universal Music Group, whose Island Def Jam recording label owns part of The Inc., did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

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