Monday, May 6, 2013

Lauryn Hill Sentenced for Tax Evasion

Lauryn Hill pleaded guilty last year to failing to pay taxes on more than $1.8 million earned from 2005 to 2007. The Grammy-winning singer stood in federal court Monday for sentencing. Monday's sentencing took into account unpaid state and federal taxes in 2008 and 2009 that brought Hill’s total earnings to about $2.3 million.

Despite having paid more than $900,000 in the past several days, Hill still owes interest and penalties, the U.S. attorney's office said. U.S. Magistrate Madeline Cox Arleo sentenced her to three months in prison for failing to pay about $1 million in taxes over the past decade.
In a forceful but controlled statement to the judge punctuated by occasional raps with her first on the podium, Hill described how she failed to pay taxes during a period when she'd dropped out of the music business to protect herself and her children, who now number six.

She said the treatment she received while she was in the entertainment business led to her decision to leave it.

In addition to serving three months in prison, Hill must pay a $60,000 fine. After she is released from prison, she will be under parole supervision for a year, the first three months of which will be spent under home confinement.

The 37-year-old South Orange resident had faced a maximum sentence of one year each on three counts of failing to file taxes. Her attorney had sought probation, arguing that Hill's charitable works, her family circumstances and the fact she paid back the taxes she owed should merit consideration.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Moser acknowledged Hill's creative talent and work on behalf of impoverished children but called Hill's explanation for her actions "a parade of excuses centering around her feeling put upon" that don't exempt her from her responsibilities.

"She wasn't interested in all those years in paying what she owed," Moser told the judge.

Hill is to report to prison by July 8. It's not clear where she'll serve her sentence. She didn't comment after the sentencing.

The singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, and actress established her reputation as an actress in the film Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. In 1998, she launched her solo career with the release of the critically successful and 19-million-copy-selling album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The album earned Hill five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Best New Artist. To date, she has won a total of eight Grammys.

"She is looking forward to putting her case behind her and getting back to her music and creating again," attorney Nathan Hochman said.

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