Federal prosecutors unseal case against rapper DMX for tax fraud

Photo by Mika-Photography via Wikipedia Commons

Federal prosecutors announced the arrest of the recording artist and actor Earl Simmons, known professionally as DMX, for tax fraud.

Joon H. Kim, the acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James Robnett, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service, announced that Earl Simmons has been arrested for engaging in a multi-year scheme to conceal millions of dollars from the IRS to avoid paying $1.7 million of tax liabilities.

Earl Simmons, a native of Mount Vernon, NY, is an internationally known rapper and actor who is known professionally as DMX. Simmons has been active since the early nineties and released seven studio albums and countless singles including “Party Up (Up In Here)” and “X Gon Give It To Ya” which both spent several months on the Billboard Hot 100.

Federal prosecutors are alleging that throughout his career, Simmons has gone out of his way to conceal money he has earned and purposely evaded the IRS.

“For years, Earl Simmons, the recording artist and performer known as DMX, made millions from his chart-topping songs, concert performances and television shows,” said Kim. “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. Far from it, 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,” Kim explained. “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.”

The indictment was unsealed on Thursday in Manhattan Federal Court.

According to the allegations, Simmons incurred $1.7 million in tax liabilities between 2002 and 2005 which he has not paid.

Between 2010 and 2015, Simmons earned $2.3 million but did not file any personal income tax returns. Prosecutors allege that Simmons maintained a “cash lifestyle” and did not use a personal bank account. He deposited his earnings into his manager’s bank accounts and used the accounts to pay off personal expenses.

Simmons also allegedly filed a false affidavit in U.S. Bankruptcy Court and listed his income as “unknown” for 2011 and 2012 despite reportedly earning hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“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,” said Robnett. “IRS-Criminal Investigation will continue to focus our investigative efforts on those who try to conceal their income in order to evade their taxes.”

Simmons is charged with fourteen counts including 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.

On Friday, Simmons appeared in Manhattan Federal Court before Judge Andrew J. Peck and pleaded “not guilty” to all 14 charges.

Simmons posted a $500,000 bond and was released; he faces up to 40 years behind bars.