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Updated: Jan 17

Rapper and actor DMX was sentenced to one year in prison for tax fraud for evading taxes from 2010 to 2016 in March, 2018.

“Earl Simmons, the recording artist and performer known as DMX, stole from the American taxpayers when he earned millions of dollars but failed to pay any taxes on his income,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. “Today’s sentence shows that star power does not entitle people to a free pass. Together with our partners at the IRS, we will vigorously enforce our tax laws to make sure that people pay their fair share.”

DMX, has stood in the spotlight since his earliest singles dropped in the 1990’s. Simmons’ first five albums each debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts, making him the only artist in history to do so. Many of these albums would go Platinum, and a number of singles stayed on the charts for weeks. This included the 2003 song “X Gon’ Give it to Ya,” which recently experienced something of a revival after being featured in the 2016 hit film “Deadpool.” Though he earned millions from song royalties, album sales, concert tickets, and celebrity appearances, Simmons was accused and convicted of failing to pay the IRS their due.

Thanks to the income he earned from sources including recordings and performances, from 2002 through 2005 he incurred federal income tax liabilities of approximately $1.7 million. Those liabilities went unpaid, and in 2005, the IRS started trying to collect.

From 2010 through 2015, DMX earned more than $2.3 million, but didn’t file personal income tax returns. Instead, he maintained a largely cash lifestyle, avoiding the use of a personal bank account, and using the bank accounts in other peoples’ names, including his business managers, to pay personal expenses. For example, he received hundreds of thousands of dollars of royalty income from his recordings, but had income deposited in the bank accounts of his managers, who then distributed it to him in cash or used it to pay his personal expenses.

He also appeared on the “Celebrity Couples Therapy” reality TV show in 2011 and 2012 and was paid $125,000 for his appearances. When taxes were withheld from the check for the first installment of that fee by the producer, DMX refused to tape the rest of the TV series until the check was reissued without withholding taxes.

Along with a year of prison, DMX, 47, of Yonkers, N.Y., was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $ 2,292,200 in restitution to the IRS. 

His attorneys had asked for him to play his music before sentencing was imposed. DMX was allowed to perform one of his songs, "Slippin'" He admitted his wrongdoing, according to the Associated Press, and said he "wasn't following the rules." But he insisted it wasn't planned. "I never went to the level of tax evasion where I'd sit down and plot ... like a criminal in a comic book." But while he is serving his time in jail, he might change his genre from rap to singing the blues.

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