Lauryn Hill Receives Prison Sentence for Tax Evasion

May 10, 2013
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Grammy-winner Lauryn Hill will be required to serve a prison sentence for tax evasion, a court ruled this week.

In a federal court in Newark, New Jersey, U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo sentenced Lauryn Hill to three months in prison for her failure to pay income taxes on more than $1.8 million in earnings between 2005 and 2007.

Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill pleaded guilty to the charges last year and has since repaid $970,000 of the amount she owed. However, she still owes both federal taxes and liabilities to the state of New Jersey. Judge Arleo also sentenced Hill to an additional three months of house arrest after her release, as well as nine months of supervision after leaving prison. The 37-year-old artist will also be required to pay a $60,000 fine.

The singer was originally planning to repay a larger amount, but said she was unable to come up with the funding due to her inactivity in the music business. In April, the Orange County resident announced a deal to produce a new album with Sony Worldwide Entertainment.

“I have been working towards this for a long time, not just because of my current legal situation, but because I am an artist, I love to create, and I need the proper platform to do so,” Hill wrote on Tumblr when she announced the agreement.

She faced up to one year in prison on each of the three counts, but her representative strongly lobbied for probation given her cooperation with the court. During the hearing, Hill compared her situation to slavery when she addressed Judge Arleo.

“I was put into a system I didn’t know the nature of … I’m a child of former slaves,” Hill said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I got into an economic paradigm and had that imposed on me. I sold 50 million units … now I’m up here paying a tax debt. If that’s not likened to slavery, I don’t know what is.”

Hill’s sentence will begin on July 8, though it still unclear where she will serve her time.