Sources close to the actor tell TMZ, Sam was paid to appear at Dady'O Nightclub in Cancun Thursday night -- alongside his GF Karissa Shannon and her twin sis Kristina -- and in Hollywood ... that counts as a real job.
But Sam couldn't just hop a plane and fly south of the border ... the guy is awaiting sentencing for his massive drug trafficking case -- scheduled for June -- and technically isn't allowed to leave the country.
So he did what any other actor in his position would do -- he filed papers with the federal court in L.A. asking for a special dispensation ... on the grounds that he needed the money ... and the court actually GRANTED it.
FYI -- the photo above is from the actual event. Celebrity justice at its finest.