Rapper DMX was arrested Thursday on fourteen counts of federal tax fraud for allegedly hiding income to avoid paying $1.7 million in taxes.
In a statement released along with the indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, authorities accused the 46-year-old performer, whose legal name is Earl Simmons, of “engaging in a multi-year scheme to conceal millions of dollars of income from the IRS.”
The charges include evading both payment of income taxes as well as assessment of income tax liability, failure to file a federal income tax return, and one count of “corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of Internal Revenue Laws.”
DMX, also known professionally as “X”, reportedly surrendered to law enforcement officials Thursday and is due to be arraigned in a Manhattan federal court on Friday.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim announced the allegations in a press release.
“For years, Earl Simmons, the recording artist and performer known as DMX, made millions from his chart-topping songs, concert performances and television shows. But 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.”
Feds allege that the performer concealed income by avoiding personal bank accounts, setting up accounts in others’ names and “maintaining a cash lifestyle.”
The statement detailed a specific instance when the rapper refused to record the VH1 television show Celebrity Couples Therapy until a check was reissued to him without tax withholdings.
“Celebrity rapper or not, all Americans must pay their taxes, and together with our partners at the IRS, we will pursue those who deliberately and criminally evade this basic obligation of citizenship,” Kim said in the release.
The Department of Justice alleges in the indictment that during the period from 2002 through 2005, DMX earned income from musical recordings and performances that carried tax obligations of $1.7 million, which were not paid. The Internal Revenue Service began proceedings to collect the unpaid taxes in 2005.
The court document also alleges that the performer did not file any personal income tax returns from 2010 through 2015, despite earning over $2.3 million during that time period.
The indictment further outlines accusations that despite earning hundreds of thousands of dollars over these periods, DMX filed a false affidavit in U.S. Bankruptcy court which listed his income as “unknown” for 2011 and 2012, and as $10,000 in 2013.
This is the latest in the troubled rapper’s long string of problems with the law. As reported by the Washington Post, DMX has been arrested more than twelve times over the past 20 years for a varied list of offenses including animal cruelty, theft and drug possession. He spent time in prison in 2015 for failure to pay child support, and in 2010 for reckless driving.
If convicted on all fourteen counts in the indictment, DMX could face up to 44 years in prison.
Feature photo: Associated Press