Rapper DMX Released From Federal Prison After Serving Time for Tax Fraud

By Tiffany Meier

American rapper and actor DMX was released from Gilmer Federal Correctional Institution in West Virginia after serving a one-year sentence for tax fraud, according to reports.

The rapper was released from federal prison Friday, Jan. 25, a spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Prisons told CNN.

DMX, whose legal name is Earl Simmons, had been sentenced to one year behind bars in March 2018 after pleading guilty to tax fraud the year before, reported Vulture.

Simmons pleaded guilty in November 2017 to one count of tax fraud for “evading the payment of income taxes in the period from 2010 through 2016.” He was reportedly able to get away with it for some time by living mostly off cash.

“In total, during that time period, Simmons engaged in a scheme to conceal millions of dollars of income from the IRS and to avoid paying $1.7 million of tax liabilities,” said prosecutors in a statement obtained by Vulture.

Initially, prosecutors urged Judge Jed Rakoff to sentence Simmons to between four years and nine months and up to five years in prison. However, Simmon’s lawyers wanted Simmons to go to rehab instead of prison.

In an unusual move, during Simmon’s sentencing, his lawyers played the music video for his song “Slippin” in hopes of convincing the judge to be lenient.

“I’ve been through mad different phases like mazes, to find my way/And now I know that happy days are not far away,” DMX raps in his 1998 song, which played before a packed courtroom in Federal District Court in Manhattan, reported NBC.

Simmon’s attorney played the music video in an effort to illustrate how far Simmons had come since his horrific childhood, insisting that his client deserved mercy.

“His life experiences were horrible,” attorney Murray Richman said. “I’ve heard horrible tales, but I’ve never heard such horrible upbringing as this. We thought the video would really demonstrate to the court just what he had to go through to get where he was.”

“I grant you he has been arrested over 30 times in his life,” Richmann added. “But in the last five years, he has never been arrested, and he’s trying to pull his life back together.”

While Rakoff had sympathy for Simmons, he still thought that prison was the best option in order to help deter other people from tax evasion.

“Today’s sentence shows that star power does not entitle people to a free pass,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney, Geoffrey Berman said in a statement, reported Daily News.

The 48-year-old rapper will be under supervised release for three years.

DMX first appeared on the rap scene in the late 1990s with songs like “Party Up” and “Get At Me Dog” as his first five albums debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. As an actor, he’s appeared in numerous films, such as “Belly” (1998), “Exit Wounds” (2001), and “Cradle 2 the Grave” (2003), according to IMDb.

Upon his release from prison, he’s already announced that he’s been planning the release of a new project. DMX is planning on dropping a new album and tackling new movie projects, including a possible biopic, according to TMZ.

Additionally, the rapper has already scheduled a “welcome home” party that will be held at the Lotus Lounge in West Haven, Connecticut, on Feb. 8.