-- The rapper known as DMX pleaded guilty Thursday to tax charges.
DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, appeared before a federal judge in New York where he has been charged in what prosecutors called a “multi-year scheme to conceal millions of dollars” from the IRS.
"Today, Earl Simmons admitted to systematically cheating on his taxes. By insisting to be paid in cash whenever possible and having royalty payments diverted to the accounts of financial surrogates, Simmons concealed hundreds of thousands of dollars of income from the IRS," Joon H. Kim, the acting United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, said today. "Simmons made a choice between ‘Right or Wrong,’ and did the right thing, admitting his guilt, and agreeing to pay his tax liabilities. No matter who you are or whatever fame you may have achieved, the law applies equally to all, and no one is exempt from the shared obligation to pay our taxes."
Simmons, 46, was charged with 14 counts and surrendered in July. An IRS Criminal Investigation said he failed to file personal tax returns for several years. He has sold millions of records and from 2002 to 2005 he amassed a tax bill of $1.7 million that prosecutors said went unpaid.
The rapper's defense attorney, Murray Richman, said of Simmons, “He’s of the opinion that he’s guilty because he didn’t properly supervise his own life. He gave the responsibility of paying his taxes to others but he knows it was his responsibility. He’s owning up to it at this particular point.”
Simmons faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. As part of his plea agreement, Simmons is required to pay restitution to the IRS.