The rapper DMX pleaded not guilty to 14 charges of tax fraud on Friday. After spending Thursday night in jail, he posted a $500,000 bond and was released. He is expected back in court on Monday, and faces up to 44 years in prison.
Prosecutors claim that the rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, avoided $1.7 million in taxes during the peak of his career from 2002 to 2005. “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,” the indictment reads. “Celebrity rapper or not, all Americans must pay their taxes.”
In addition to the tax evasion charges, Mr. Simmons has been charged with failing to file tax returns from 2010 through 2015, and with filing a false affidavit in United States Bankruptcy Court. The bail agreement stipulated that Mr. Simmons is confined to the New York City area. But his lawyer, Murray Richman, said that he would request permission for Mr. Simmons to travel to perform shows this summer.
Between 1998 and 2003, five of Mr. Simmons’s albums hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. He also acted in the films “Romeo Must Die” and “Belly,” among others.
Following the hearing, Mr. Simmons told reporters that his religious faith was helping him cope with his legal troubles. “It’s allowed me to not be scared of the situation and face it head-on,” he said. “My life is in God’s hands.”
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