Prominent rap artist DMX on Thursday pleaded guilty in federal court, five months after the rapper was arrested on charges that he withheld $1.7 million in taxes over a five-year period.
DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to one count of tax fraud, which means he avoided the payment of $1.7 million in taxes from 2000 to 2005, by shifting money among accounts belonging to managers and associates.
In July, the rapper was charged with 14 counts of tax fraud and pleaded not guilty at the time.
However, he pleaded guilty at the court on Thursday, which means the rapper faces up to five years in prison at sentencing on March 29th, 2018 the Associated Press reports.
Prosecutors had accused him of hiding millions of dollars he earned from hit songs, including X Gon’ Give it to Ya and Where the Hood At.
The rapper could have been hit with up to 40 years in prison if he had been tried and convicted on all counts.
“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,” Joon Kim, the acting US attorney for the southern district of New York, said in a statement.
In court, DMX blamed “people in charge of me” at the time for the tax fraud, which occurred from 2010 to 2015, a span of five years where the rapper didn’t file any tax returns. “I’m responsible… I failed to file taxes,” DMX admitted in court Thursday.