Rapper DMX was arrested and charged with tax fraud on Thursday (July 13).
Federal prosecutors in New York say he concocted a multi-year scheme to hide millions in income from the IRS and skirt $1.7 million in existing tax liabilities.
“While raking in millions from his songs, including his 2003 hit ‘X Gon’ Give it to Ya,’ DMX didn’t give any of it to the IRS,” Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said in a statement.
Feds have charged Simmons on 14 counts related to tax evasion.
DMX, whose given name is Earl Simmons, appeared before a judge Friday and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
After posting $500,000 bond, the Yonkers-born rapper was asked what he’d like to say to his fans.
“Thanks for the support,” DMX said outside the courthouse. “My life is in God’s hands.”
They say he didn’t pay $1.7 million in taxes incurred between 2002 and 2005, and that he didn’t file personal income tax returns between 2010 and 2015 despite earning more than $2.3 million.
The hundreds of thousands of dollars he earned from royalties were allegedly deposited into the bank accounts of his managers and disbursed as cash, court papers alleged.
Simmons avoided paying taxes by eschewing personal bank accounts, creating bank accounts in others’ names and covering his expenses with cash, Kim said.
The rapper allegedly refused to complete taping of the reality TV show “Couples Therapy” in 2011 until producers issued a check that didn’t withhold any taxes, according to the statement. He was paid a $125,000 for filming the show in 2011 and 2012.
Further, he allegedly lied about his income in a bankruptcy filing, claiming he earned a mere $10,000 in 2013 when he’d actually made $250,000, the papers state. The “Party Up (in Here)” rhymer, who has 15 children with nine different women, has filed for bankruptcy three times.
His lawyer, Murray Richman, blamed the tax lapse on DMX’s financial advisers.
“He hires people he relies upon, and they don’t do it, and he’s the one that gets charged,” the lawyer said.
“They didn’t do it — they took their money, they took their percentage, and they left.”
Simmons cooperated with the police as they took him into custody and was immediately scheduled for Manhattan federal court before Judge Andrew J. Peck.
He is looking at over a dozen counts, including corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of the IRS, one count of evasion of payment of income taxes, six counts of evasion of assessment of income tax liability, and six counts of failure to file a U.S. individual income tax return.
If convicted on all 14 offenses, DMX could face up to 40 years in jail.
The 46-year-old rapper has topped charts with albums like 1998’s “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot” and 1999’s “…And Then There Was X.”