Westchester native Earl Simmons, the rapper DMX, has been arrested after prosecutors said he owes $1.7 million in taxes and engaged in a multi-year scheme to conceal from the Internal Revenue Service millions of dollars of income.
Simmons surrendered to law enforcement agents Thursday and will be presented Friday in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Joon H. Kim said.
A Mount Vernon native who grew up in Yonkers, the 46-year-old Simmons has become an international celebrity from his songs, including his best-selling hip-hop album "And Then There Was X," and the 2003 hit "X Gon' Give it to Ya."
Kim said that while Simmons was "raking in millions from his songs," he "didn’t give any of it to the IRS."
"Far from it," Kim added, "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.
"He even allegedly refused to tape the television show ‘Celebrity Couples Therapy’ until a properly issued check he was issued was reissued without withholding any taxes.
"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.”
During the period from 2010 through 2015, Simmons earned more than $2.3 million, but did not file personal income tax returns during that time period, Kim said. Instead, he orchestrated a scheme to evade payment of his outstanding tax liabilities, largely by maintaining a cash lifestyle, avoiding the use of a personal bank account, and using the bank accounts of nominees, including his business managers, to pay personal expenses, according to Kim.
Simmons tried to conceal his income from the IRS and others, including by filing a false affidavit in U.S. Bankruptcy Court that listed his income as “unknown” for 2011 and 2012, and as $10,000 for 2013, Kim said. In fact, said Kim, Simmons received hundreds of thousands of dollars of income in each of those years.
Simmons has been charged in 14 counts: 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.
Count One carries a maximum sentence of three years. Counts Two through Eight each carry a maximum sentence of five years. Counts Nine through Fourteen each carry a maximum sentence of one year.
Simmons overcame a difficult childhood that included stays at group homes and frequent arrests to rise to stardom.
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