UPDATE: DMX pleaded not guilty on 14 charges of tax fraud, according to the New York Daily News. The rapper and his lawyer gave a brief interview outside the courthouse, thanking fans for their support and noting that the rapper wrote rhymes while spending Thursday night in jail.
DMX was arrested on Thursday and charged with tax fraud, with the rapper accused of “engaging in a multi-year scheme to conceal” $1.7 million in tax liabilities from the Internal Revenue Service.
“Celebrity rapper or not, all Americans must pay their taxes,” Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said in a statement. “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.”
In total, the rapper is facing 14 counts of tax evasion, failure to file a tax return and corruptly trying to obstruct and impede the administration of IRS laws. He surrendered to law enforcement on Thursday, with a Manhattan federal court date to follow Friday.
If found guilty of all 14 charges – “one count of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of Internal Revenue Laws, 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” – DMX could face over 40 years in jail.
In a press release, the Department of Justice outlined the measures DMX took to withhold taxes on the $2.3 million the rapper supposedly earned between 2010 and 2015. In one example, it’s alleged DMX refused to tape an episode of Celebrity Couples Therapy “until a properly issued check he was issued was reissued without withholding any taxes.” From 2010 to 2015, DMX also didn’t file any tax returns.
“While most individuals file truthful tax returns and pay their taxes, the indictment against 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,” IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge James D. Robnett said in a statement. “IRS-Criminal Investigation will continue to focus our investigative efforts on those who try to conceal their income in order to evade their taxes.”
The tax evasion arrest is the latest in a long string of legal problems for the Yonkers rapper: In 2015, DMX was sentenced to six months in prison for failing to pay child support, although he only spent two months behind bars.