NEW YORK — The rapper DMX was hit with 14 counts of tax evasion for failing to pay $1.7 million he owes the IRS and for going to elaborate lengths for years to avoid paying, prosecutors said.
The 46-year-old hip hop star, whose real name is Earl Simmons, is charged with failing to file taxes at all between 2010 and 2015 even though he earned $2.3 million.
The IRS says the rapper — who scored major hits in the 1990s and early 2000s like “X Gon’ Give it to Ya,” and “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” — had all money he earned paid to his managers and others who who then gave him cash so he could avoid having to pay taxes.
When he appeared on the show, “Celebrity Couples Therapy,” in 2011 and 2012 and was paid $125,000 for his participation, refused to film the rest of the season until the producers reissued his first paycheck because they had initially withheld taxes.
“DMX allegedly went out of his way to evade taxes, including by avoiding personal bank accounts, setting up accounts in other’s names and paying personal expenses largely in cash,” Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said. “Celebrity rapper or not, all Americans must pay their taxes.”
Between 2000 and 2005, prosecutors say Simmons amassed an unpaid tax bill of $1.7 million which has never paid.
He faces up to 44 years behind bars if convicted.
DMX has had countless legal issues over the years and had faded from the limelight largely due to increasingly erratic behavior. He has numerous arrests on drug and drunk driving charges and for keeping fighting dogs.
In one bizarre incident in 2004, Simmons pleaded guilty to attempting to carjack a woman’s vehicle in the parking lot at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and then claiming he was an FBI agent when police intervened. Investigators found crack cocaine and prescription drugs on Simmons when he was arrested.