Rapper DMX, also known as Earl Simmons, has been charged and arrested for “engaging in a multi-year scheme to conceal millions of dollars of income from the IRS,” noted the Department of Justice in a statement on Thursday. In the last seven years, he has avoided paying $1.7 million worth of tax liabilities, according to the DoJ.
Attorney Joon H. Kim used Simmons’ own lyrics against him, adding, “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.”
Kim also claimed that Simmons intentionally refrained from taxes by “avoiding personal bank accounts, setting up accounts in other’s names, and paying personal expenses largely in cash.” Simmons, in further efforts to evade taxes, even allegedly held up a “Celebrity Couples Therapy” taping “until a properly issued check he was issued was reissued without withholding any taxes.”
IRS Special Agent James D. Robnett noted that “Mr. Simmons alleges various tax crimes, including that he failed to file personal tax returns for several years and did not pay his fair share of taxes.”
The DoJ also revealed that between 2010-15, Simmons failed to report $2.3 million in earnings from his famous songs, concerts, and television appearances for personal income tax return, instead living a “cash lifestyle.”
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.
“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,” said Kim.