NEW YORK CITY — Rap star DMX is under federal investigation for failing to pay millions of dollars in taxes dating back more than a decade, DNAinfo New York has learned.
The rapper, who is now as famous for odd behavior and drug abuse as for a string of hits that made him a hip-hop sensation, faces years in prison if he is indicted and convicted on tax related charges, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
Sources say he is being probed by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office and the Internal Revenue Services.
People close to DMX say he believes his handlers and paid assistants took care of his taxes, and if they did not, then he is a victim of malfeasance or fraud.
One friend, who asked for anonymity, said “DMX believed his taxes were all being paid, and is a victim."
But that argument may not prevail, law enforcement sources explained, pointing out that DMX would not be first rapper to face jail for federal tax problems.
The list includes Ja Rule, who hails from Queens and served two years for tax related charges, and Bronx native Fat Joe was sentenced to four months in federal prison for failing to file tax returns on income totaling more than $3 million.
DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, 45, and is from Yonkers, could face indictment by the end of the month, sources say.
A spokesman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declined comment.
After skyrocketing to the top of the hip hop charts with the likes of Jay Z, a movie career and reality show, DMX has seen his personal life spiral into drug and alcohol abuse, bankruptcy, and divorce — he has 14 children with several women.
And he has been arrested numerous times for narcotics or weapons possession in recent years in several states, including New York.
One incident took place in 2004 when he and another man broke into a parking lot at John F. Kennedy International Airport where he tried to commandeer a car by claiming to be a federal agent, according to news reports. When the real police showed up, DMX was arrested for possessing a handgun, nightstick, 20 rocks of crack cocaine, Oxycodone, and Diazepam.
He struck a plea deal where he only ended up serving under six weeks behind bars for violating parole.
Earlier this year, DMX was found without a pulse after a drug overdose in Yonkers next to his 2016 white BMW outside the Ramada Inn, and was near death before doctors revived him, according to news reports. He later went on to perform at a New York City nightclub just three days later.
Calls to DMX's spokesman were not immediately returned.