Method Man, a member of the hip-hop collective the Wu-Tang Clan, has been arrested on felony charges of failing to file New York State income tax returns for 2004 to 2007 and not paying $32,799 in personal income taxes for the same period.
The 38-year-old performer, whose real name is Clifford Smith, surrendered Monday morning to the Richmond County District Attorneys NYPD Detective Squad and was arraigned later that day in Staten Island Criminal Court. He faces up to four years in prison. Smith was released later the same day on his own recognizance and blamed his tax problems on a miscommunication, according to the Staten Island Advance.
However, his tax woes date back to 1994, and the state has issued four warrants against him since 2000. His earlier tax bills from before 2004 have all been paid. Smiths next court date is scheduled for Dec. 9.
Taxes are the burden that all citizens share in a civil society, whether you are an average Joe on the street or a high-profile rap artist, said Richmond County District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan Jr., in a statement. Because of the alleged action of people like Mr. Smith, law-abiding citizens face higher taxes and reduced government services. Failure to properly report and pay your taxes is a crime against all citizens and will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted.
In addition to his singing career, Smith has also been a hip-hop producer and actor. He had a recurring role on the HBO series The Wire and appeared in the motion pictures Belly and How High.
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