Manhattan, NY

Just when things were looking up for DMX, the multi-platinum rapper got dealt some bad news. After recently landing his own reality series and delighting fans with the release of his “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” cover, X was in court on Thursday (November 30) to plead guilty to tax evasion charges. He could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison, according to ABC News.

X, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was charged with 14 counts in July. He amassed a tax bill of $1.7 million following years of not filing any personal tax returns.

“Today, Earl Simmons admitted to systematically cheating on his taxes,” Joon H. Kim, the acting United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, said. “By insisting to be paid in cash whenever possible and having royalty payments diverted to the accounts of financial surrogates, Simmons concealed hundreds of thousands of dollars of income from the IRS.

“Simmons made a choice between ‘right or wrong,’ and did the right thing, admitting his guilt, and agreeing to pay his tax liabilities,” he added. “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.”

X’s lawyer, Murray Richman, said his client is taking responsibility for relying on other people to handle the Ruff Ryders member’s taxes.

“He’s of the opinion that he’s guilty because he didn’t properly supervise his own life,” Richman said. “He gave the responsibility of paying his taxes to others but he knows it was his responsibility. He’s owning up to it at this particular point.”

In addition to a potential prison sentence, X must pay restitution to the IRS as part of his plea deal.