The Grammy Award-winning rapper from Staten Island was arrested Monday morning for allegedly bilking New York out of $32,799 in taxes, officials said. He is accused of failing to file state income tax returns from the years 2004-2007 and failing to pay taxes in that time.
Method Man -- whose real name is Clifford Smith -- is accused of failing to pay New York state income tax between 2004 and 2007.
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Smith, one of the founding members of Wu-Tang, walked into the office of the Staten Island District Attorney around 8 a.m. to face the music on the felony charge -- a mistake that could land him in prison for up to four years, federal tax officials said.
"Taxes are a burden that all citizens share in a civil society, whether you are an 'Average Joe' on the street or a high-profile rap artist," Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan said.
"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," he said.
Smith won a Grammy with Mary J. Blige in 1995 for the single "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By" and appeared as Melvin "Cheese" Wagstaff on the HBO series "The Wire."