Son of R&B legend Gladys Knight sentenced to prison for tax crimes, ordered to pay over $1M

Abu Mubarik November 08, 2021
Gladys Knight and the Pips performing on the USS RANGER (CV-61) aircraft carrier. Image via Wiki/DoDMedia/United States Department of Defense

Shanga A. Hankerson, the son of legendary singer-songwriter Gladys Knight, has been sentenced to two years in prison. Hankerson, who runs Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles, was jailed for what authorities say was a “willful failure to remit payroll taxes” at the restaurant which bears his mother’s name.

He founded the restaurant in 1997 in Atlanta and expanded to locations in northern Georgia and Washington, D.C.

He was required to withhold payroll taxes, including taxes to pay for Social Security and Medicare but between 2012 and 2016, Hankerson failed to remit more than $1m in taxes.

“Hankerson willfully disregarded his tax obligations for many years. 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,” Kurt R Erskine, acting U.S. attorney, said.

“While ownership of a well-known restaurant in our community has its perks, it also comes with great responsibility,” said the Inland Revenue Service.

“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.

Hankerson pleaded guilty to the charges on July 21, 2021. He has been sentenced to two years in prison and one year of supervised release. During his sentencing on Wednesday, he was also ordered to pay restitution of over $1 million.

Son of R&B legend Gladys Knight sentenced to prison for tax crimes, ordered to pay over $1M
Gladys Knight and son Shanga Hankerson. Image via Facebook

In 2017, Knight won a legal tussle to sever ties to the business, and her son was ordered to stop using her name, likeness, and memorabilia, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Seven-time Grammy award winner, songwriter, actress and singer Gladys Knight is widely known for belting out soulful hits in the 1960s and 1970s and was famously part of the group, “Gladys Knight & the Pips.”

In 1987, Knight pursued a solo career. The group was inducted into the Georgia Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Knight’s move to become a solo artist proved to be a lucrative one as she appeared and sang on hits of her own and with other artists such as Ray Charles, Johnny Mathis and Lenny Kravitz.

She has been bestowed with an Honorary Doctorate in Performing Arts from Shaw University, Soul Train Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award and a BET Lifetime Achievement Award.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: November 8, 2021


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