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Rick Ross Sued for Allegedly Using Illegal Stage Name

May 26, 2010 (3:43 am) GMT
Former drug trafficker Ricky Ross files lawsuit against the rapper in order to gain sole rights to his name.
Rick Ross

is facing possible legal action from former drug trafficker Ricky Ross, who has accused the rapper of exploiting his name to forge a career in hip-hop. The rap star - born William Leonard Roberts II - is said to have adopted his stage name from the former cocaine kingpin, who became infamous for running a drug empire in Los Angeles in the 1980s.

The ex-convict claims his lawyers sent cease-and-desist letters to executives at music label Def Jam in 2006, after they signed Roberts, to protest "the exploitation and misuse of his name". He maintains he received no response from music bosses and claims the star went on to profit from the moniker "without his consent".

But now Ross, who was released from prison last year, wants sole rights to his name - and he's threatened to use "any means necessary" to regain control. A statement from his camp, issued to BallerStatus.com, reads: "It's no secret that the boss at FreewayEnterprise.com is unhappy with how his name has been exploited and misused since he went to prison in 1995, and in 2006, the above-named parties signed (William L. Roberts II) to a big record deal and then spent, and made, millions off Ross' name."

Ross was sentenced to life imprisonment but his jail time was reduced after a series of appeals.

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