Rap singer Method Man, a member of the Wu-Tang Clan hip-hop group, has entered a guilty plea to New York State tax evasion charges.

Method Man, whose real name is Clifford Smith, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of attempted failure to pay taxes. The 39-year-old rapper was sentenced to a conditional discharge by Judge Alan J. Meyer, who accepted the plea agreement on Monday. Smith has made total payments of approximately $106,000 to the New York State Commissioner of Tax and Finance to satisfy all taxes owed to New York State, as well as interest and penalties.

The guilty plea was entered in satisfaction of Smith’s Oct. 5, 2009, arrest on charges that he failed to file New York State income tax returns for the years 2004 through 2007 and failed to pay personal income tax for that same period (see Rapper Method Man Arrested on Tax Charges).

“Failure to pay your taxes is not a victimless crime,” said Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan Jr. “In these days of massive budget shortfalls and service cuts, tax evasion is a crime against all New Yorkers. Whether you are a celebrity or an ‘Average Joe,’ you will be investigated, arrested and prosecuted.”

Smith’s attorney Peter Frankel blamed the tax problem on the rapper’s previous accountant, who has been replaced. He said that once the performer learned about the tax debt, he hired a new accountant and paid it.

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