Maryland residents may be aware that the rapper Earl Simmons, who is also known by the stage name of DMX, has been accused by the federal government of hiding millions of dollars in income to avoid paying taxes. Simmons faced up to 44 years in prison after being charged with 14 counts of tax fraud in July, but reports indicate that the ‘It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot” singer has avoided this fate by entering into a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Simmons entered a guilty plea to a single count of tax fraud in a Manhattan federal court on Nov. 30. According to reports, the rapper will spend up to five years behind bars followed by three years of supervised release. The plea arrangement also requires Simmons to pay back $1.7 million in unpaid back taxes. Sentencing in the case is scheduled to take place on March 29.
Prosecutors claim that Simmons diverted millions of dollars in royalties into accounts held by various business and personal acquaintances, including his ex-wife. When asked about the alleged scheme during his Nov. 30 court appearance, the rapper admitted, after prolonged questioning, that he was evading taxes. The tax fraud case is the latest and most serious in a long list of legal issues that have plagued the 46-year-old entertainer. Simmons has previously been charged with reckless driving, animal cruelty, parole violations and drug possession.
The penalties for tax crimes like fraud and evasion can be severe, but establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt in complex financial cases can be difficult. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may urge prosecutors to avoid the soaring costs of court proceedings and the unpredictability of juries by entering into plea agreements and settling tax cases quickly.
Source: Reuters, Rapper DMX pleads guilty to U.S. tax fraud charge, Gina Cherelus, Nov. 30, 2017