Lauryn Hill Faces Three Years in Prison on Tax-Evasion Charges
Lauryn Hill pleaded guilty to tax-evasion charges in federal court today (June 29). The charges stem from the ex-Fugees member owing $1.8 million in back taxes. The veteran rapper could face up to three years in prison and $75,000 in fines for her misdeed.
According to The Star-Ledger, Hill appeared in court today wearing a white dress shirt, blue blazer and a lengthy coral dress. She remained stern with her arms crossed in front of her chest as U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp addressed her during the hearing. He also ordered Hill to undergo mental health counseling as directed by pre-trial intervention services.
After the hearing, Hill's attorney, Nathan Hockman, accused the federal government of targeting his client because of her celebrity status. "There are many people in society who fail to file their taxes on time who only face civil liability," he tells the newspaper. "They chose Ms. Hill in particular because of who she was."
Hill posted on her Tumblr page last month an apologetic letter to her fans for her tax struggles and blamed herself for putting her family first before any financial responsibilities. She wrote:
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! I also embraced my right to resist a system intentionally opposing my right to whole and integral survival."
Lauryn Hill was released on $150,000 bail and will be formally sentenced at a hearing in late November.
Watch Lauryn Hill + Nas Performance at Summer Jam 2012