NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Hip-hop star Method Man, best known as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, pleaded guilty to a tax evasion charge Monday, and wrote a check on the spot for the final $40,000 restitution payment after owing about $106,000.
Method Man, whose real name is Clifford Harris, was arrested Oct. 9 on charges he failed to pay state and personal income taxes. He was sentenced to a conditional discharge, which means the arrest will be purged from his record if he stays out of trouble.
"When he found out about the tax issue he hired someone and immediately corrected it," defense attorney Peter Frankel said. "He took care of it quickly like the good member of our community he is."
The musician, actor and artist failed to file tax returns for 2004 through 2007, prosecutors said, insisting all "Method Men" are created equal in the eyes of the law.
"In these days of massive budget shortfalls and service cuts, tax evasion is a crime against all New Yorkers," Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan said. "Whether you are a celebrity or an average Joe, you will be investigated, arrested and prosecuted."
In 2007, Method Man was arrested on a minor drug charge and was ordered to visit 15 city high schools to warn students about the dangers of drugs. "He's not your typical rapper," defense lawyer Frankel said. "He's not a troublemaker."
Method Man won a Grammy in 1995 for best rap performance by a group or duo with Mary J. Blige for "I'll Be There For You/You're All That I Need." He also had a recurring role on the critically-acclaimed HBO series "The Wire" and wrote a self-titled graphic novel.