You can kill someone, rape someone, start a war, or destroy the economy, but apparently the United States judicial system doesn't care as much about those crimes as it does tax fraud.
Take for instance, the case of rapper DMX, who was scheduled to be released from prison on January 27 for, you guessed it, tax fraud.
He was released today, a few days early (one less weekend in jail, woo-hoo!), as is usually the case when an inmate's release date falls on a weekend. The news came from his lawyer, Murray Richman, who said he spoke to the artist. "He's coming home tomorrow. I spoke to him; he's very happy."
The rapper, known for his growling and barking, and being one of the least vocabulary-diverse artists in hip-hop, pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges in 2017. Had he been convicted on all the charges brought against him, DMX could've spent up to 44 years in prison — the maximum sentence for the amount of money he didn't fork over to Uncle Sam.
So, just how much money did he avoid paying?
DMX was accused of a "multi-year" tax scheme that saw him save $1.7 million dollars. He achieved this by strictly paying for everything in cash, opening bank accounts that weren't in his name, and having other people pay for things with his money.
How much prison time did he serve?
When all was said and done, X got away with spending less than a year in prison. Not bad, considering what his life would've looked like if they threw the book at him. That certainly seemed like Attorney Joon Kim's intentions when he made this statement:
"Celebrity rapper or not, all Americans must pay their taxes, and together with our partners at the IRS, we will pursue those who deliberately and criminally evade this basic obligation of citizenship."
According to Richman, X, real name Earl Simmons, wasn't bothered by other inmates in prison due to his celebrity status and was otherwise "terrific" despite being locked up behind bars. He also hinted that the rapper would be returning to music straight away after his release.
"He's looking forward to being home. He's never been hotter than now — people have been seeking him out all over."
The Creed II connection
There was some buzz around DMX's name recently when a mash-up of his track, "Who We Be" and the Rocky theme played on the soundtrack for Stallone's final appearance as Rocky in the most recent film of the iconic boxing franchise.
If X is planning on hitting the studio again, he's probably hoping his next attempt fares better than his last musical outing. His 2015 Album, Redemption of the Beast, got roasted heartily online for its terrible album art.
DMX says he never authorized the album's release, however, so here's hoping whatever he comes out with after prison at least has a cover that doesn't look like it was made by some kid with access to Word Art.
As far as the rapper's, err, rap sheet is concerned, tax fraud is one of a several crimes he's been charged with.
Earl's been having run-ins with the law since 1998 (two years after the network television premiere of Demolition Man, for all you Snipes fans out there). He's also been charged with cocaine and marijuana possession, the former drug being his particular brand of good-time inspiration.
He also got in trouble for violating his parole, criminal mischief, a DUI, attempted carjacking, possession of drug paraphernalia, and animal cruelty. In all fairness, DMX does rap a lot about being a dog, so maybe one day after he blew too many lines he fought a dog and became convinced he was actually a member of the canine family.
After being released from jail in 2010, he ended up getting his own TV series that was supposed to track his journey trying to overcome his drug habits. It ultimately never took off because he was arrested just three weeks later. Oh, X.
Here's hoping he can stay on the straight and narrow as best he can now that he's a free man again.