R&B singer and eight-time Grammy winner Lauryn Hill plead guilty to tax evasion charges in a New Jersey court on Friday, and now faces possible jail time, fines and penalties.
Hill, who owns four record labels, plead guilty to violating federal tax law by failing to pay income taxes on more than $1.8 million between 2005 and 2007. According to court documents, the 37-year-old neglected to pay $818,000 in 2005, $222,000 in 2006 and $761,000 in 2007. Although Hill plead guilty, she wrote a lengthy email explanation to fans regarding her reasons for violating tax law.
She noted that she went underground for several years to keep herself and her six children safe.
“I did not deliberately abandon my fans, nor did I deliberately abandon any responsibilities, but I did however put my safety, health and freedom and the freedom, safety and health of my family first over all other material concerns,” Hill wrote on her personal website. She also noted that she plans to pay back the full amount of taxes she owes to the federal government.
Hill’s attorney also asserted that many people evade taxes each year, but the singer/record-label owner was deliberately targeted due to her celebrity status.
Upon accepting her guilty plea, U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Shipp ordered Hill to undergo mental health counseling, although he did not further clarify the reason behind the ruling. Hill will face a maximum of one year in jail for each count of tax evasion and up to $75,000 in fines. Bail was set at $150,000 and sentencing will be held in November.