Most of the criminal tax cases that we cover on our blog involve taxpayers with unfamiliar names, a reminder that the IRS goes after those they believe have violated the tax law, no matter how big or small. But a small handful of our stories involve those of pop culture fame that have found themselves on the wrong side of tax law. This is an update to a story that we wrote on back in 2017 and involves a famous rapper that was busted for tax evasion.
According to multiple news outlets, Earl Simmons, better known as the rapper DMX, was released from federal prison last week after serving a year behind bars for tax fraud. Walking out of the Gilmer Federal Correctional Institution in Glenville, West Virginia, Simmons must still serve three years of supervised release but as long as he keeps his nose clean, will not return to prison for his tax crimes. Though, it almost ended a lot worse for Simmons.
At sentencing in 2017, prosecutors were pushing for upwards of five years in federal prison after Simmons pleaded guilty to one count of tax fraud. Tax authorities and prosecutors alleged that Simmons failed to pay taxes on a substantial amount of income from 2005 through 2016. As a part of their investigation, tax authorities discovered that Simmons had been receiving payments related to his music career through his agents’ bank accounts and paid his expenses in cash, making it extremely difficult for the government to collect the tax he owed. The IRS estimated that they lost out on over $1.7 million of tax revenue as a result of Simmons’ tax fraud and efforts to conceal his earnings.
Department of Justice prosecutors thought this to be egregious and suggested the sentencing judge make an example out of Simmons. Lawyers for DMX resorted to playing one of Simmons’ music videos from the 1990’s in an attempt to demonstrate to the court that DMX had overcome a rough upbringing and although he had been arrested over 30 times in the past, he had made an effort to clean up his act in recent years. The strategy appears to have been effective.
This story is a prime example of the reality that the IRS and Department of Justice will go after those who have committed tax crimes regardless of status. If you find yourself receiving notice that your tax return has been chosen for examination or if you are the target of a criminal tax investigation, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax attorney as soon as possible.
The tax and accounting professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing have devoted their careers to assisting taxpayers navigate the oftentimes treacherous waters of tax compliance. From wage-earning employees under IRS examination to business owners being investigated by the state taxing authorities, our team of zealous advocates is standing by to help you develop a course of action that will focus on keeping your physical and financial freedom intact. Do not let the threat of an IRS audit or criminal investigation keep you up at night. Contact the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today for a reduced-rate consultation.
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