(Reuters) - Rap artist and Hollywood actor DMX was arrested on Thursday and accused by federal prosecutors of engaging in a multiyear scheme to conceal millions of dollars of income from the federal government to avoid paying $1.7 million in taxes.
The 46-year-old performer, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was due to be arraigned in federal court in Manhattan on Friday, federal prosecutors said.
"While earning millions from hits like 'X Gon' Give it to Ya,' DMX didn't give any of it to the IRS," Joon Kim, the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a Twitter post.
According to an indictment unsealed on Thursday in federal court in Manhattan, Simmons was charged with tax evasion, evasion of assessment of income tax liability, corruptly endeavoring to obstruct administration of IRS laws and the failure to file a U.S. individual income tax return.
A lawyer for Simmons, Murray Richman, said by phone that Simmons plans to enter a not guilty plea at his arraignment on Friday. He said that while Simmons concentrated on music, he had been "charged over the failure of others to do what he hired them to do."
If convicted, Simmons faces a maximum of 44 years in prison on each of the charges, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Prosecutors said Simmons took great pains to evade his tax obligations, such as maintaining a cash-only lifestyle and not having a personal bank account.
He also deposited royalty checks into the bank accounts of his managers, who then gave him cash or used the money to pay his personal expenses, prosecutors said.
At one point, prosecutors said, he filed a false affidavit in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, listing his income as "unknown" for 2011 and 2012, and as $10,000 for 2013, when he received hundreds of thousands of dollars of income in each of those years.
The rap star's arrest record includes charges of animal cruelty, reckless driving, drug possession, weapons charges and probation violations. He has had several felony convictions and has served prison time in Arizona.
Simmons albums such as "It's Dark and Hell is Hot" and "Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood" feature song lyrics rife with violence and rage. He has also starred in the 1998 crime drama "Belly," the 2000 action movie "Romeo Must Die" and the 2003 heist film "Cradle 2 The Grave."
Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by G Crosse and Bill Trott